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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Voertman’s spray paint ‘nook’ makes room for creative expression

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Article Originally Published by North Texas Daily on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by North Texas Daily on North Texas Daily

By Joanna Gasca

Voertman’s, located at 1314 W. Hickory St., got an area approved to become a spray paint “nook” open to the public. The section can be found near the front entrance of Voertman’s, between the storefront and Aura Coffee.

Reagan Boerner, former Voertman’s social media manager and graphic design junior, was behind the idea of creating the spray paint “nook.”

“We were having issues with the murals that we would paint in that nook being tagged or graffitied over, so I had a suggestion of making it a free-for-all spray painting nook,” Boerner said. “That way, the graffiti was more accepted and wanted in that area.”

The idea was approved by the Voertman’s store manager and the City of Denton in March, then in April, the spray paint “nook” sprung into action. Boerner said the process of approval was much easier than other community projects because Voertman’s is a privately-owned business that can decide what to do with its property.

Boerner received support from Caitlin Bradford, Voertman’s art department manager and UNT alumna, throughout the process of receiving approval for the idea.

“It was pretty painless,” Bradford said. “I know Reagan did most of the contact with the city, but we basically had to get permission from the city and establish a ruleset so that the space wouldn’t be taken advantage of.”

The rules are written on a large sign beside the spray paint “nook” for the public eye to see.

“We really haven’t had any problems and it seems like a lot of people are really excited about it,” Bradford said. “I mean there’s not a whole lot of free walls in this area. I think it’s something really different that people haven’t seen, so [it is] definitely creating a little bit of a buzz.”

Voertman’s shared the opening of the spray paint “nook” with the community through its social media platforms. Denton resident and finance senior Kevin Loza discovered the spray paint “nook” through a TikTok. Then, he went to the area and tried it out for himself.

“It gives people an opportunity to go spray paint, which is thought of most of the time through a lens of vandalism,” Loza said. “So for it to be encouraged like that, I think it’s really cool and I think it would be really cool if there were more spots like that in Denton.”

Adding the spray paint “nook” to the community has been the perfect addition to the “college-town identity” of Denton, Loza said. He plans to return to spray paint again and has been telling his friends to visit the “nook.”

Stefanie Nava, Voertman’s employee and UNT alumna, has seen the previous projects Voertman’s had in the “nook.” She said it has a platform to bring Dentonites together with open accessibility.

“People have that innate urge to just be like, ‘Oh, [I] kind of want to be rebellious a bit,’ so I think that spot makes it appropriate to have that urge,” Nava said. “I think it’s just a space for them to let it all out in a way.”

Spray painting in the “nook” is not an activity exclusive to UNT students — Voertman’s encourages everyone in the Denton community to participate.

Supplies to paint on the “nook” are not provided by Voertman’s, but individuals can purchase spray paints inside the store or bring their own.

“You are welcome to bring whatever, [so] if you want to bring some exterior paint and make a base for a mural you want to do, as long as you recognize it will probably get covered up, you can pretty much bring whatever you want,” Bradford said.

Voertman’s employee, Stefania Nava, stands in front of the store’s recently added spray paint wall on May 29, 2021. Image by Carlisha Wilson

Source: North Texas Daily

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