352walls/ The Gainesville Urban Art Initiative
The Founder & Curator
A groundbreaking tourism development multi-site project for the community with a goal to position Gainesville as a cultural destination in future years, foster economic development and promote urban renewal. Gainesville, Florida. 2015-2016.
Co-Founder & Co-Curator
One of the biggest project in the world. Aims to raise public awareness and attention to the problem of war, aggression and violence. 200 walls will be painted starting from Kiev (The Capital of Ukraine) and without boundaries around the world. Kiev, Ukraine. 2016-present.
Urban Art Consultant
Art (Re)Public is the city’s first international art and mural expo that aims to establish the urban core as a nationally recognized art district, in all forms, mediums and scale, including architecture and design. Jacksonville, Florida. 2016.
The founder & CEO
Upcoming project. Florida. 2017.
Iryna Kanishcheva was born and raised in Ukraine where she received two Masters degrees in Business Management and Pharmaceutical Technologies. Although she had a successful career working in the pharmaceutical sector as a Sales/Field Force Manager, she completely changed her focus when she moved to the USA.
Iryna founded and curated the first urban art project in North Florida, 352walls. She was also the official photographer for the project. For this work, she was awarded the 2015 “Public Art Award”: for the significant contribution to the enhancement of the greater environment through public art.
Iryna is also the Co-Founder and Co-Curator for one of the biggest mural projects in the world, ArtUnitedUs (Kiev, Ukraine), well-known for its row of significant artworks, such as the tallest wall in Europe, for example. She has received a special Gratitude from the Mayor of Kiev Vitali Klitschko for introduction of new ideas and decoration of the Capital of Ukraine with a mural series. As well as a Gratitude from the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine for civic activity, promotion of Ukraine, and creating art objects of Worldly importance.
Iryna established a guide to the street art scene and urban culture in Gainesville, GNV Urban Art, in the form of a website she created using some of her other talents, web design and journalism. She seeks out local artists, conducts interviews, photographs, and writes about them and international guests of the city. The blog has both informative and educational context.
To top it off, Iryna has initiated a row of engaging community activities with various organizations, introducing people of different ages to the Graffiti world. Among them Grove Street Neighborhood. She gathered the best artists from around the world acting as the Urban Art Consultant for Art (Re)Public in Jacksonville, FL. The city’s first international art and mural expo.
As a photographer, Iryna has contributed to numerous publications for the most relevant street art galleries on the web and magazines such as Instagrafite, Brooklyn Street Art, Graffiti Street, Urbanite, Arrested Motion, Street Art News, Graffiti Art Magazine (issue #28, #31, #32), Uninhibited Urban Art Magazine (issue #4), Stuart Urban Art Magazine (issue #2), and more. Her photographs were exhibited in the Historic Thomas Center, Gainesville, FL; Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL, and more regional galleries.
Public talks: Gainesville Barcamp 2016, Gainesville Barcamp 2017, TEDxUF 2017.
Iryna has single-handedly created something in Gainesville that did not exist … and has done so “the right way” by reaching out to some of the world’s most accomplished muralists. If the full extent of her vision is realized, this inaugural effort will lead to an annual expansion of mural art in the Gainesville area, with contributions by local/regional artists. Beyond the murals themselves, Iryna has also provided Gainesville and the arts community with something even more important – inspiration and a tangible example of what one person can accomplish if properly educated and motivated. Vision. Drive. Passion. Energy. Professionalism.
The community is indebted to Kanishcheva for her 352walls curating efforts. She had a vision for how urban art, particularly murals, could change cities. She was dogged in finding the support to make it happen. This is a really interesting example of citizen initiative that was in the right place at the right time and brought together a number of different entities to make it a reality.
Ms. Kanishcheva searched internationally for the best muralists in the world. This included fearless "cold call" meetings to convince these artists to come to Gainesville despite virtually no local precedent and no guarantee of funding. Ms. Kanishcheva promoted the concept's potential as a powerful tool for community and economic development and then sought permissions from building owners, secured the financial and organizational support to make the project a reality, forever changing the face of our downtown and adding greatly to our quality of life and attractiveness as a cultural destination.
Even though Kanishcheva has not performed one brushstroke, the sense of accomplishment is apparent. She can say with confidence, the art initiative has made the downtown Gainesville community a more beautiful place. Like any community activist, her work is not done. She vows to continue to look for empty, forgotten walls in the area that, in her words, “want to look brave.” Bravery, after all, is the first step toward great art.