Style in Progress Graffiti and Hip Hop Jam

The fourth annual Style in Progress, Canada's largest graf and hip hop jam, is going down this weekend. The local non-profit throwing its namesake jam is a collective of artists, musicians and general kickass types working to promote urban art, music, dance and fashion.

Straight from the horse's mouth:

"Producing initiatives that bridge the gap between young emerging artists and the general public, Style in Progress develops art exhibits and community development projects that provide an outlet in which the people of all ages and ethnicities may appreciate and better understand urban art forms, including graffiti, break dancing, and hip hop music."

Recent projects include Creativity Unleashed with the University for Peace back in May, the graffiti project behind the Drake Hotel as part of the ReSurface Festival in June, and the ongoing Bell Box Project through the City of Toronto.

blogTO caught up with SIP's Amber Joliat and Jana Tomko, culture pushers extraordinaire, to get the scoop...

How did Style in Progress come about?
Style In Progress is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting legal graffiti art, and using it as an outlet to build community cohesion, and positive, creative outlets for youth. Our events provide a unique service for emerging urban artists to showcase their talents to the public in the order to gain experience, recognition, and support. As an organized body, we broker the needs of this community and serve as a bridge between artists and the community. SIP promotes the positive aspects of urban culture through art, music, dance, and fashion at community events and gallery shows.

The main idea of this jam was to give local talent exposure and hopefully get them additional work. It has progressed from a two-day event to a crazy four-day event, where we try to showcase every aspect of the hip hop culture!

Aside from street-level events and promotions, how else does SIP work to achieve its mandate of promoting urban art, music, dance and fashion?
It's our goal to keep the underground alive. We have many events all year around to help promote every aspect of the culture and this event. We were at King of the Ring, ReSurface was a SIP collective where the graf writers painted the alleys behind the Drake Hotel and the night event had a sick line up of talented emcee's, beat boxers and DJs! We had writers at Beats, Breaks and Culture. The Bell Box Project that was a collective of graf writers who painted sponsored Bell boxes, in partnership with the City of Toronto. We have a variety of events all year around and we are always showing our face around the city at shows and events. The more the public donates wall space or money for projects, the more SIP and Toronto artists can grow.

Where do the proceeds from the events this weekend go to?
SIP is a not for profit organization. We rely on whatever money we get from the sponsors. Everything else - from printing shirts and flyers to buying cans and garbage bags - comes out of our pocket and each year it is a cross-your-fingers situation that SIP breaks even. Any excess money goes back into next year's event. But we actually haven't had any excess money yet so I'm really not sure. It would be nice to have enough money to pay all the artists and staff!

Any final parting words?
Come support our event - it is bigger and better than ever before! And make sure you come out to the Kool Herc/bboy battle and show some screwface love.

There you have it. The Style in Progress family includes 514 graf/zine crew and record label Under Pressure, urban art champions Base Gallery and youth media association 4UNITY.

Darn tootin'.

Here's a quick look at what's going down:

Friday, July 21

Kool Herc
Spinning 9:00 to 11:00pm for the b-boy battle
Team Canada (of the infamous Shuffle parties)
Spinning 11:00 to 1:00pm
Berkeley Church (315 Queen E)
Doors at 8:00pm
$10 in advance

Saturday, July 22

Live graffiti, breakdancing, performances
Yonge/Dundas Square
11:00am to 9:00pm

Ill Bill (Uncle Howie Records)
with E.Dot, DJ Eclipse et al.
The Opera House (735 Queen E)
Doors @ 9:00pm
$10 in advance

Sunday, July 23

Graffitivaganza in the alleys of Queen West. Betwixt Spadina and Portland from the hours of 11am to 7pm, over 100 graf writers will gather to paint the town red...literally. (Well, red, green, blue, yellow, you get the jist...)

So get on out and show some love.

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