Just like Bettina, I imagined street artists would want to benefit from journalism, to grow their audiences and have their messages spread. However, some of the East Harlem artists I contacted were busy with work so it was hard to take hold of them. Many artists have their personal social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook were they share their pieces and get feedback from their loyal fans and friends.
Our program is very new and for that reason, our approach to journalism might be hard to understand for some; I wouldn’t be surprised if my community is “wary” of being harmed by journalism and therefore not being interested in talking to me. Gentrification, injustice and the topics covered by the artists are sensible and difficult, so it’s understandable they are not willing to talk that easily. For this reason, I need to gain their trust and “prove” my intentions are to work WITH them. It has been three months since we started the program, and it’s easy to get frustrated when the outcomes are not as we expected, when we want to serve our communities but we are not able to do so. Persistence and patience should be written at the top of our to do lists.
Though I have been able to locate members of my community through social media platforms, artists are out on the streets, their work is tangible and public. There are even those who barely have an online presence and it has been harder to contact. I have attended some events where local artists meet and I found that to be the most effective way to contact artists; they can see who I am, how I look like and I can catch their full attention when having a conversation.