Festival ‘paints’ Valley in hip-hop

‘Paint on the Water’ returns Sept. 7 to Pioneer Park

083013_paintonwater            “Paint on the Water: St. Croix Valley Hip Hop Festival” returns for its second year Sept. 7 and organizer Scott Zahren is excited to share this “fun” event with the community.

Zahren has been active in the Valley arts community for many years and wanted to bring a public arts project to the area. The festival features grafitti art, B-Boy-ing, B-Girl-ing, MC-ing and DJ-ing. The event is noon to 5 p.m. at Pioneer Park.

“The hip hop culture has interested me for years,” Zahren said. “I’m interested in bringing the culture to Stillwater.”

Last year’s inaugaral festival attracted around 800 people, according to Zahren. Over half of the festival-goers were female and ages ranged from 6 to 80.

This year, Peyton, a Minneapolis graffiti artist, is the festival’s head artist. Peyton attended art school in Chicago and is part of Juxtaposition, a Minneapolis non-profit that brings art to young adults and high school students in a positive way. He has also visited several high schools in the area, including Minneapolis, Roseville, Stillwater and Hudson.

Zahren said the festival “will be a learning experience for adults and children.” He hopes it will “bring people together of all ages.”

Paint on the Water is free and funded by outside sources, something that is important to Zahren. This year, the festival received $915 in funding through a competitive porcess from the St. Croix Valley Foundation’s Valley Arts Initiative, which supports projects that increase understanding of, and access to, an array of artisitc activities in the lower St. Croix River Valley. ArtReach St. Croix received the check from SCVF Director of Grants and Programs Jill Shannon, and Zahren and ArtReach St. Croix Executive Director Heather Rutledge accepted the check.
Zahren also hopes that Paint on the Water shows people the positive side of art forms that have negative connotations.

“Graffiti, rap and break dancing are all legitimate forms of expression that often get skewed negatively,” he said. “As time goes by, art forms change and evolve.”