TAC TEN+: Graff Panels. From Walls to Panels, and Back for More

From the viewers who look, to the artists who wield their arsenal of color, here is another view into how
walls can generate activity and inspire another wave of conversation and interaction...

Exhibiting Guest Artists for TAC TEN+ Pop-Up Installation:

Reak, Keptoe, Cels, Deluxe, Quazi, Igore, Tense, Jimboe, Swerve, Nerve, Sloe, Etips, Usuk, Acme


We’ve all heard the saying “if these walls could talk.” Well, in Providence, the walls speak volumes, especially those serving as the canvas for public art. Thanks to The Avenue Concept (TAC), many walls around Providence serve as the hub of an ongoing conversation. Locals and visitors alike are surrounded by community canvases voicing a myriad of stories — and inviting us to share ours. I’ll start.

I am a newcomer to Providence. I arrived at a time (2020) when meeting people was considered a risk. I didn’t know anyone, and I had not spent any significant time in Providence. When I arrived, public art became my welcoming committee and my refuge. I spent most of my early days engaged in dialogue with the city’s walls. They had much to say. And I have TAC to thank for facilitating these conversations.

As I explored downtown, the city spoke back. During those early months of 2020, the streets were empty, and the heartbreak that led me to move to a city I had barely visited rushed to my face when I first saw BEZT’s work at 123 Matthewson Street. I felt connected and understood. That ring, still bouncing in the air today, appears to have never landed on his beloved’s finger. Four years later, I still pause every time I walk by.

On another wall, located at 1 Ship Street, the simple statement harnessing both history and hope for a better future, “VOTE,“ invited me to act. I scanned a QR code there to update my voter registration. As a newly minted RI resident, I’d forgotten.

Vote was created in collaboration by four Rhode Island artists, Kendel Joseph, The Lady J, AGONZA, and ABOVE. As it happens, the mural also began a collaboration that has developed into a longstanding creative relationship between Kendel Joseph and Mikey Fernandez (ABOVE), who met one another as they worked the wall. Today, they continue to work together and are active at TAC, Mikey is a new board member and Kendel runs the Paint Bar.

This week, at the TEN+ celebration on June 8th, Mikey and Kendel are working together yet again to bring together 14 Graffiti Art Panels, expertly executed, bridging multiple generations of graffiti artists from Providence and beyond. Unlike walls, the graffiti panels curated by Mikey and Kendel travel. They are a moveable celebration of all the work that has gone into the past decade, showcasing artists often seen as “underground” and bringing them to the forefront. In a way, they’re here to bring TAC itself to the forefront of the community.

The panels are a glimpse of the ever-evolving conversation facilitated by the legal graffiti oasis on TAC’s own walls that surround their hub off Broad Street. Kendel and Mikey, who are years apart in age, decided to select seven folks from their separate networks, some of the most active and respected artists on the scene, to bridge a unique conversation between two generations of artists.

“Graffiti is a thing of anonymity,” says Kendel Joseph. “You’ll see someone’s work under a bridge or on the side of a tunnel, and it blows your mind, but you don’t know who the person is.” Bringing these different artists together to paint alongside one another and share stories was a way to foster connections. “A little of it is in real-time,” Kendel says, referencing the act of coming together and painting the panels, “but it’s also down the line, these connections will foster themselves.”

The artists featured on the panels are varied. One is a toy maker, another a truck driver; there’s a writer and a waiter, a car salesman and a former vet, to name a few. “We tried our best to pull folks who have utilized the legal walls and been part of the TAC growth over the years. He says he highlights these dope artists and tries our best to find folks who used the space as best as possible to make some of their best work,” he says.

The walls outside the Avenue’s headquarters host a rotating cast of tags, characters, and styles. They stand as a lab of creation, experimentation, and refinement. The conversation is endless, and all are invited to participate.

Each artist received a stipend for their work, the panels to paint on at TAC’s headquarters, and paint supplied by the Paint Bar. “These aren’t little pieces,” says Kendel. “Its full color, full detail, on a four-foot by eight-foot panel – sometimes done in an hour and a half.” The efficiency and speed at which they created their art is incredible. “But,” he reminds me, “the proficiency is a buildup of years of practice.”

“Spray paint lends itself to larger scale art and these fourteen artists are master painters,” Kendel says. The work is varied and different; there is no one unifying theme. Every artist was given free rein to decide what they wanted to create and the colors to use.

“Between each artist, you’re going to see different flavors, styles, and themes,” Kendel says, “the unifying thing is the language of letter-based art.”

From the viewers who look, to the artists who wield their arsenal of color, here again is another view into how walls can generate activity and inspire another wave of conversation and interaction. May these panels be the invitation you need to visit the paint bar, attend a GAFF Jam, or wander further into the wonderland that is TAC’s contribution to the Providence landscape. These panels speak. Enjoy their addition to the conversation.


Constance Beverley moved to Providence from Brooklyn in 2020. An art enthusiast, lawyer and community organizer, Constance serves as the CEO of the Share Winter Foundation (sharewinterfoundation.org). By day, Constance works to create and support learn to ski and snowboard programs for youth historically denied access to winter sports. In her free time, she travels the world in search of murals and large-scale installation pieces that make her mind short-circuit (in a good way) as a means of understanding the world around her.
IG: @restless_radness