Sunday, March 7, 2010

History Channel’s portrayal

Dear _Friends________ ,

Recently, national television has misrepresented Denver’s community. On March 5th, 2010 the History Channel aired an episode of Gangland with a segment on North Denver. During the segment the History Channel producers made an erroneous claim against the community art advocate Mr. Jeremy Silas Ulibarri, aka Jolt. The Gangland episode made a heinous association between a gang called North Side Mafia [NSM] and Jolt’s trademark “guerilla-gorilla.” Without checking their informational sources, the History Channel produced a montage that borrows Jolt’s well-known guerilla-gorilla and appropriated it for exploitive, entertainment purposes.

This misinformation threatens local businesses and residents that have commissioned Mr. Ulibarri’s public artwork, who proudly display his guerilla-gorilla. Within hours of airing the Gangland episode at least one local business with Jolt’s work was vandalized . Community members and businesses that support Mr. Ulibarri and his advocacy work are now threatened by slander. But far more concerning is the potential reaction from gangs regarding the misinformation from the History Channel episode.

We are concerned that the History Channel’s portrayal of North Denver could potentially increase gang related activity by falsely associating Mr. Ulibarri’s community work with the North Side Mafia. This letter is to firmly state for the record that Mr. Ulibarri has never been affiliated with gang activity. Throughout his tenure of community advocacy Jolt has worked towards the positive ends of encouraging community engagement through art.

It is unfortunate that Jolt’s work is now being associated with exactly the opposite of his mission statement, which is to “enhance the aesthetics of the urban environment through community projects and public art.” We know that through community support the erroneous claims made by the History Channel in regards to Jolt’s work will be corrected.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Please feel free to contact us regarding any questions you might have.

Guerilla Garden Studios


The Kool Skool said...

Dear Guerilla Garden,
this is a common problem, and we have been "framed" in a similar way. The Kool Skool and several other graffiti writers took part in a series of Graffiti workshops and completed a massive community mural in a area known for street crime and youth murders. The mural has been used twice as the backdrop for interviews with young people talking about guns and gangs and their crime histories. The young people these interviews were conducted with are NOT even from the area! The Mural has actively REDUCED CRIME in this particular area, as the local council put lights up in the location, and as many people came into the area to view the mural, became too hot for crime.... The mural has also featured in a film about Football violence...
I hope you can get a retraction from the History Channel, as it could effect the artist financially, future commission prospects and could risk the artist being put on some "Gang member list".
Good luck
Peace from the Kool Skool

art in motion said...

It is a travesty that people did not do the research that was necessary to put together a factual documentary. Community projects such as Guerilla Garden has been of assistance in multiple community & city projects that have beautified the city as well as given young people alternatives and opportunities to become artists, and craftsman. Although I am sure, it is hard to believe there would be misinformation on television, there must be accountability (possibly fiscal) on the side of the History Channel to right this oversight of factual information. As a community member, and a concerned citizen of Denver I am thankful for Mr. Silas' space of productive creativity, and community wellness.
Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Ms. Lujan

The Kool Skool said...

Hope it comes to something

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