Vitality and Verve: Celebrating Transient Street Art at the Long Beach Museum of Art


One of the places I most found myself going on and on about was the Long Beach Museum of Art.

Now, I know I’m not much of a museum person, but this one was really special– mainly because of their current exhibition Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape.

Perfectly timed with POW! WOW! Long Beach, a festival featuring the creation of murals around the city, for a period of two weeks, the museum’s walls were also taken over by a group of urban artists.

It’s sad to think that most people don’t consider graffiti “art” when looked at on the side of a building. But when put in a gallery setting, it really pushes people to question and alter their perception of this art form.

The results? Pure magic.


The museum itself had become a piece of art as its walls were transformed with a mix of graffiti, mixed media installations and traditional canvas works.

As we explored the exhibit it was literally like kids in a candy shop. We ran from one piece excitedly to the next, only to run back telling the others to come quick in order to look at something new.

Never in my life have I been to a museum where every single piece spoke to each person who passes by. But these murals had something to say to everyone.

With each new installation I saw, it only got better and better, and when pressed to choose I could never pick a favorite.

Despite the emotion and feelings these murals evoke, regrettably, come October 25th, 2015, the museum’s walls will once again be painted white. A reflection of street art’s transient that these creators know all too well.

Knowing these pieces will exist for merely a moment in time makes them even more beautiful.

Hottea | Promiscuous | yarn, wire mesh, wood, acrylic


IMG_4514 IMG_4549

Audrey Kawasaki | My Little Allies | mixed media on museum wall


James Bullough | Into the Ether | spray paint on museum wall


Brendan Monroe | Envelope | mixed media on museum wall


Angry Woebots | In the Shadows | acrylic on wood


Saber | Too Many Names | mixed media on museum wall

In Too Many Names, graffiti artist Saber wrote the names of 534 people who have been murdered by police in the United States to date in 2015, including local Long Beach teenager, Hector Morejon.


Jeff Soto | The Stars at Night | mixed media on museum wall


Alex Yanes | Going, Going, Gone | mixed media on museum wall


Cryptik | Fingerprints of the Gods | acrylic paint on museum wall


John Culqui | West on Imperial | mixed media on museum wall


Andrew Schoultz |Explosions, Bursts, and Breakage | mixed media on museum wall


Aaron Horkey | Capricorn Blues | acrylic and latex paint on museum wall

Executive Direct Ron Nelson stands by Horkey’s piece, proud of how the exhibition turned out.



Which piece is your favorite?

A very special thank you to Executive Director of LMBA Ron Nelson for giving us a private tour of Vitality and Verve and to Visit Long Beach for arranging my stay. As always, all opinions are my own.


  • Ron says:

    Truly awesomely artistic. Love all the paintings. Hope to visit some place like this too.

    • Beth Williams says:

      I hope more cities start doing similar exhibitions. It would be so cool to see this movement take off.

  • Manu Kalia says:

    Looking forward on visiting Long Beach Museum of Art. I hope next year. Such a great place to visit.

  • Kristen says:

    Modern art might be one of my favorite things ever. I love them and trying to think about the meaning. I visit the MOMA in chicago quite often and I would love to visit this one too!

    • Beth Williams says:

      You know what, I have never been to MOMA! It’s a shame since it’s literally down the street from where I live. I need to change this!

  • Nicci says:

    Art can be so beautiful, and it looks like the artists had so much to portray in each different wall. I liked them all, except the nude woman. She’s a bit too sexually exposed for my taste.

    • Beth Williams says:

      Understandable. Art is very subjective! Everyone likes something different. :)

  • CourtneyLynne says:

    Omg this museum looks awesome!! I’m not an artist myself or anything but I do enjoy a good art show!

    • Beth Williams says:

      I think sometimes people with less artistic ability appreciate art even more! (or any talent therefore)

  • Carly Brydon says:

    I would love to visit the Long Beach Museum of Art. Museums are my favorite, and there are some great pieces here!

    • Beth Williams says:

      These pieces really were so unique! It’s a shame to know they’ll be gone soon.

  • Amanda says:

    These exhibits truly are a feast for the eyes. I’m not sure which is my favorite….the colorful installation or the nude woman. So stunning and creative. Would love to see them in person!

    • Beth Williams says:

      I really had a hard time choosing a favorite… I honestly still can’t decide.

  • Liz Mays says:

    It’s amazing what these artists can do. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to visualize one of these pieces and then make it real.

  • Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    My sister has multiple degrees in art, so I have been to many museums with her over the years. I bet she would love this one!

    • Beth Williams says:

      That’s cool that you’ve been able to visit so many museums, I’m jealous!

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