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Urban Curators

Marc and Sara Schiller collect the writing on the wall. PLUS: GOOD Video Feature


Marc and Sara Schiller collect the writing on the wall.

"People get very polarized by graffiti. Is it the broken window syndrome? Is it creating violence? The one thing about graffiti or street art is you know there's life," explains Marc Schiller, 42. He, with wife and collaborator Sara, 37, beside him, pours enthusiasm as he talks about street art and graffiti-legally and artistically daring work, often placed right before our eyes, yet so often unnoticed. This art exists as much for its own sake as for any audience, but thanks to the work of this unlikely husband-and-wife team, street art has a champion: the website Wooster Collective.For Marc and Sara Schiller, who launched Wooster in 2001, the idea for the project began as they explored their neighborhood in New York City ten years ago. "We started to tap into the fact that the city we were living in has another layer to it that not everybody sees," Marc says. "As you become more aware, you realize it's exploding with creativity and inspiration and art." The Schillers, though not artists themselves, began to document this underground city-five years and several full hard drives later, they put it online.Wooster Collective, described simply as "a celebration of street art," soon became an online home to artists who use the city as their canvas. The content, personally chosen and posted by the Schillers, makes sense of a broad and disparate art movement that was, at the time, barely aware of its own existence. Visiting the site is like taking a tour of every imaginable corner of the globe, while never leaving the same thriving creative community. "Go to any city in the world," says Marc. "If you look around, you'll see a stencil of Gandhi on the ground, or a sticker on the corner."\n\n\n
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Go to any city in the world. If you look around, you'll see a stencil of Gandhi on the ground, or a sticker on the corner.
Today, Wooster is more than just a website. The Schillers help put on events, give walking tours of New York's graffiti, and this past fall, at 11 Spring Street, an abandoned building in downtown New York (which was temporarily donated for the event), they organized one of the most significant exhibitions of street art ever. Artists from all over the world came to the vacant space to plaster, paint, solder, glue, and otherwise make their mark on the building before it was converted to condominiums. When the space opened to the public for three days last December, tens of thousands of people lined up for blocks to enter.Momentum is growing in the street art world, and even as the Schillers have become noted figures, the couple stays grounded. Both hold down day jobs and routinely spurn offers to turn profits from their site-for Marc and Sara, the salon atmosphere of artists they have built around themselves is reward enough. Still, people often assume Wooster is a business. "In reality," Sara clarifies, "we're just two people using our part time, who happen to love art, trying to connect with other artists and learn."An original GOOD Video presentation:[good width="560" height="316" image="http://pre.cloudfront.goodinc.com/splash/1221064960-1220574004-spring_street_presentation_image.jpg"]http://pre.cloudfront.goodinc.com/videos/spring_street.mp4[/good]Pseudo Slang appears courtesy of Fat Beats Records."Broke & Copascetic" Recorded and Mixed at B.F.T. Tapehouse (Buffalo, NY) except for Vinia Mojica's vocals recorded at Fat Beats Studios (Brooklyn, NY). Cuts by Dj Daringer. Written by J.Brown, A. DiGesare and V. Mojica published by Sickee Sick In The Place To Be (ASCAP), Skill Evans Music (ASCAP), All Good Water Music/BMI"Saku Koivu Rides Again" Recorded and Mixed at B.F.T. Tapehouse (Buffalo, NY). Cuts by Dj Tommee. Written by J.Brown and A. DiGesare published by Sickee Sick In The Place To Be (ASCAP), Skill Evans Music (ASCAP)."Back Porch remix" Recorded and Mixed at B.F.T. Tapehouse (Buffalo, NY). Cuts by Dj Cutler. Written by J.Brown and A. DiGesare published by Sickee Sick In The Place To Be (ASCAP), Skill Evans Music (ASCAP)."Yes Doubt" Recorded and Mixed at B.F.T. Tapehouse (Buffalo, NY). Mysterious L appears on his own mysterious volition. Written by J.Brown published by Sickee Sick In The Place To Be (ASCAP), Skill Evans Music (ASCAP).For more info www.pseudo-slang.comLEARN MORE woostercollective.com
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Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

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There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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