Alcatraz East Awards Graffiti Artists

First place winner: Steve Hall of Maryville, TN - photo courtesy of Alcatraz East

First place winner: Steve Hall of Maryville, TN – photo courtesy of Alcatraz East

It’s not often that graffiti artists get recognized and awarded for their artistic talents. But on June 2, 2018 that’s exactly what Alcatraz East Crime Museum did, holding a graffiti art contest giving the winners the opportunity to have their work on display at the museum for thousands of visitors to see. This first graffiti contest held by the museum featured seven pre-selected artists who also competed for cash prizes.

“We are excited with how our first outdoor event and first art contest went off,” says Rachael Penman, director of artifacts & exhibits at Alcatraz East. “It was a fun way to bring awareness to the public and give artists an opportunity to display their work in a museum setting.”

The top spots went to:

1st place: Steve Hall of Maryville, TN

2nd place: Casey McKinney of Louisville, KY

3rd place: William Love of Nashville, TN

In addition to the local area, artists from Kentucky, South Carolina, and Georgia also competed. The contest guidelines restricted the artistic themes to be suitable for a general public audience, and in line with the museum’s law enforcement and crime history topics. Winners of the contest will have their panels displayed in the museum later this summer, and received cash prizes of $750 for first place, $350 for second place, and $200 for third place. The judges’ panel included local law enforcement representatives Sevier County Sheriff Ron “Hoss” Seals and Pigeon Forge Chief of Police Richard Catlett, as well as artist Kelly Sullivan from Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, and Rhonda Marsh, owner of Southern Draw Tattoo Studio in Pigeon Forge.

“This has been such a magical experience for me and I hope to see more events like this in the future,” shared William Love, one of the graffiti artist winners.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the national cost associated with removing graffiti from vandalized properties is at least $8 billion per year, between clean up and the lowering of property values. To combat this costly problem, many cities have introduced organized graffiti art projects to revitalize areas and provide official recognition to artists. Museum visitors will be able to see the graffiti exhibit to learn more about the topic and admire the artistic work on display.

“Based on the success of this year’s contest, we are planning to stage the event again next year,” added Penman. “We will start accepting artist applications on our website in January 2019.”

The Alcatraz East Crime Museum is located at the entrance to The Island, at 2757 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. They are located near the Margaritaville Hotel and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The museum offers a wide array of crime information, including notorious crimes and criminals, historic artifacts, interactive exhibits, crime scene investigation, crime detection and fighting, and information on how help avoid being a victim of crime. There are also many activities that are kid friendly. Currently, the OJ Simpson white chase Bronco is on display at the museum, along with Ted Bundy’s VW Beetle.

For more information and to purchase tickets, log online: www.alcatrazeast.com.

Second Place Winner: Casey McKinney of Louisville, KY - photo courtesy of Alcatraz East

Second Place Winner: Casey McKinney of Louisville, KY – photo courtesy of Alcatraz East

Third place winner: William Love of Nashville, TN - photo courtesy of Alcatraz East

Third place winner: William Love of Nashville, TN – photo courtesy of Alcatraz East

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