‘Hip-Hop: A Black Tie Affair’ Exhibit Opens Today at Artisan Center in Wheeling

Photo Provided This piece by Alex Wright is among those that will be on exhibit at the Hip-Hop: A Black Tie Affair exhibit at the Artisan Center in Wheeling.

Wheeling Heritage is hosting an art show at the Artisan Center with the goal of helping to break down stereotypes and assumptions.

An opening reception for Hip-Hop: A Black Tie Affair is scheduled from 5-8 p.m. this evening at the Artisan Center, located at 14th and Main streets in downtown Wheeling. The exhibit will feature more than a dozen artists displaying photos, graffiti and mixed-media pieces, as well as a video showcasing area hip-hop artists performing a capella. The project is the result of a partnership between the YWCA Wheeling and Wheeling Heritage.

Ron Scott, who focuses on cultural diversity and community outreach at the YWCA, created this event with the goal of showcasing hip-hop as a culture instead of a genre.

“Hip-hop is more than just music,” he said. “This exhibit will feature art that is not always associated with hip-hop, like photography and graffiti. I’m hoping this event will bring a new understanding of what hip-hop is, for anyone who’s interested.”

Scott added that he wants to remind people that hip-hop encompasses more than its most visible aspect of music, and is more than public perception.

“With just the music, the popular version, it’s so synonymous with crime, misogyny and violence, we wanted to remind folks that this still is an art form,” Scott said.

He stressed that while the title suggests that this is a formal event, there is no dress code.

Scott said he drew upon his own personal contacts within the local hip-hop community to find contributors and artists for the exhibit. He also worked alongside Hot Rod Tattooing to get in touch with artists, in a process that he said took more than six months to organize.

“This exhibit is a great opportunity to showcase art and community,” said Chris Villamagna, project manager at Wheeling Heritage. “This event is unlike those we typically host, as it features not only art, but also music and education components as well.”

The exhibit will run until Feb. 15. The Artisan Center gallery is open to the public 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

“I can’t wait. I hope the weather doesn’t drive people away,” Scott added. “Mixing elements of elegance with hip-hop is going to be a sight to see.”

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