The Graff Lab is an urban sanctuary for artists, kids, and adults that opened after the Los Angeles public school district cut its after-school art programs in 2006. World famous for its graffiti and aerosol art, The Graff Lab is dedicated to providing artists with a safe space to develop their skills. At The Graff Lab artists don’t have to worry about getting harassed by the police or by gangsters; they are free to concentrate on their craft.
But The Graff Lab is more than a public art space. The Graff Lab offers free tutoring and counseling in addition to free dance and music lessons (guitar and drums). The USC Boxing Club has a training facility at The Graff Lab, so free boxing lessons are available as well.
Additionally, The Graff Lab hosts a variety of cultural events, including Halloween parties, Thanksgiving get-togethers, a Virgin of Guadalupe celebration and a Christmas toy drive. The Graff Lab also offers historical preservation and small business training through its sister organization: The Pico-Union Housing Corporation.
The Graff Lab is located at 1038 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA at the intersection of Union and Venice. It is just minutes from the Staples Center in downtown LA.
Artists & Community Coments
“Let me get something clarified before I talk about the Graf Lab. Usually when I tell someonethat I create graffiti with the youth in my neighborhood I get concerned looks from them. The word graffiti almost always brings up other words in most people’s minds like: illegal, crime,or sin. In our minds we think of words like: art, work, and style. Let it be known that there issuch a thing as legal graffiti, and it’s beautiful.
I’ve had the privilege of teaching some of the youth in our neighborhood the form ofillustration. In turn, they’ve been teaching me the art of graffiti. Every piece that we dotogether is 100% legal, and it’s usually at a legal spot in our neighborhood called the GrafLab. This spot is somewhat of a sacred place in Pico Union, Los Angeles. It’s on the South Eastcorner of Venice and Union in Los Angeles. (if you’ve got the skills please come through) EverySaturday, artists can express themselves legally in broad daylight, and practice the art form ofgraffiti in safety. There are outside dangers that come in though. For instance the Burlingtongang has claimed this as their territory. Yes you might get stopped by them if you go there, butwe can’t let gangs interrupt or lives. The Graf Lab belongs to everyone, and it’s important to not hand any place over to darkness. The Artists have something to say. They also have somethingthey need to let out of their being. I love the Graf Lab because it provides artists with anoutlet that takes them off the billboards and private property of L.A. If anything there needsto be more legal spots like the Graf Lab in every city.
We have to support places like this.
If legal walls are taken away from the public then peoplewill fall into vandalism even more. If we believe that non-permission graffiti on privateproperty is a crime, then we have to back our beliefs by providing legal walls as a community.”
(By Etex at the Graf Lab)