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Society & Culture

The Truth In This Art with cultural anthropologist Cory Stowers

podcast May 29, 2024

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In this episode of the “The Truth in This Art” podcast, host Rob Lee converses with Cory Lee Stowers, a cultural anthropologist, visual artist, and curator. They tackle Cory’s background in graffiti and his role in the DC hip-hop scene. Stowers discusses his creative influences and the significance of preserving artistic legacies. He shares the challenges of leading organizations like Art B.L.O.C. DC and DC Murals, emphasizing the need for sustainable funding and aligned partnerships. This episode explores the evolution of mural art, the use of technology to create interactive murals and the cultural impact of public murals. Cory also touches on the historical debate over African American visual identity at Howard University and the importance of impactful community murals.

Episode Highlight:

  • Painted Beginnings (00:01:30): Cory takes us back to his roots, painting a vivid picture of his early life and how he was drawn into the vibrant graffiti and hip-hop culture of Washington DC.
  • Artistic Inspirations (00:04:00): Remembering the past, Stowers shares heartfelt stories about the people and experiences that have sculpted his artistic perspective and continue to influence his creative journey.
  • The Artistic Grind (00:10:00): Rob and Cory engage in a candid discussion about the grit behind the glamour, exploring the obstacles and triumphs that come with bringing ambitious art projects to life.
  • Mural Dreamscape (00:20:00): With an eye on the future, Cory outlines his visionary plans for transforming DC Murals into a social enterprise that not only beautifies but also benefits the community.
  • The Funding Puzzle (00:22:00): The conversation takes a pragmatic turn as Stowers addresses the intricate challenge of weaving together funding and partnerships to support his artistic endeavors.
  • Creative Alchemy (00:20:30): Cory offers a glimpse into his creative sanctum, revealing how he approaches the art-making process and fosters meaningful connections with the community through his work.
  • Murals That Speak (00:30:00): The power of murals to tell the untold stories is brought to the forefront, highlighting their significance in preserving and sharing cultural narratives.
  • Art in the Digital Age (00:35:00): Reflecting on the intersection of art and technology, Cory discusses how modern advancements are revolutionizing the way murals are created.

Key Takeaways:

1. Graffiti and hip-hop culture have played a significant role in shaping the artistic landscape of urban environments like DC.
2. The preservation of artistic legacies is crucial for cultural continuity and understanding the historical context of art forms.
3. Sustainable funding and strong partnerships are essential for the success and longevity of arts organizations.
4. Public murals are not just art, they are powerful tools for cultural expression and community engagement.

Website and Social Media Links:
X: @RockCreekLee
Instagram: rockcreeklee
LinkedIn: Cory Lee Stowers

Hey everyone, if you were as inspired by Cory Lee Stowers’ stories and insights as I was, let’s show some love! Head over to his website and follow his journey on social media to keep up with the incredible work he’s doing in the art world. And if you enjoyed our deep dive today on “The Truth in This Art,” please take a moment to rate and review this episode. Your feedback means the world to us and helps others find these meaningful conversations. Plus, if you’re feeling generous and want to support the podcast further, consider joining our Patreon community. Every bit of support helps us continue to bring these important stories to light. Thanks for listening, and let’s keep the conversation going!

This program is supported (in part) by a grant from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.

If you have a story about art, culture, or community, share it with us at rob@thetruthinthisart.com for a chance to be featured on ‘The Truth In This Art’ podcast.

Follow The Truth In This Art on Twitter, Threads, IG, and Facebook @truthinthisart

Original music by Daniel Alexis Music with additional music from Chipzard.

Episode illustration by Alley Kid Art.

About “The Truth In This Art

“The Truth In This Art,” hosted by Rob Lee, is a podcast that explores the essence of creativity and its community impact, amplifying artists’ voices and their profound stories.

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