Press Release

New Documentary Shines Light on City's Legal Graffiti Scene

"We need at least one legal wall in every neighborhood. We just want to create and express ourselves."

Posted on: 22 November 2019 .    By: Josh Artman

On Tuesday, November 12, the Cambridge Public Library hosted a community screening of "Above the Free Walls," the new documentary from local filmmaker Weiying Olivia Huang. Huang received funding from the Cambridge Arts Council earlier this year to help produce the feature-length documentary, which is about the legal graffiti wall in Central Square's Modica Way alleyway and the community of graffiti artists that spray there.

Filmmaker Olivia Huang: She sees the graffiti on the wall, and the spirit of poetry at the Grolier

On August 14, 2019, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Huang, a woman of abundant energy, has also set her sights on new subjects since we last talked. The former Somerville resident received a grant from the Cambridge Arts Council to produce a film examining the art and community around the famed graffiti alley in Central Square, Cambridge. The film’s tentative title is The Modica Way.

Huang reflected, “I was working in that area, and I passed the alley twice a day. It was fascinating to see folks from all walks of life – not professional artists for the most part – put their work up.”

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Filmmaker Olivia Huang has been working on a documentary film about street art. In a conversation about the history of the alley, when a similar incident to this that happened in the past was mentioned, she became particularly enamored of the idea of a “paint party” where a bunch of artists would all converge upon the alley at once, to completely cover it with fresh art from end to end all in one day. But what would it take to make this happen? Perhaps it could be arranged sometime over the course of the summer? Who knows? What would it take to get a dozen or more artists on board to be there all at once?


Weiying Olivia Huang walks up to the middle of an alleyway that’s nestled between a restaurant and a Korean supermarket and bursting with gradations of color and light. She puts down her bag.

Fragmented beams of blue and yellow pour down from the plastic panes of a stained glass canopy and bounce off her long shiny black hair as she sets up her tripod and pivots a camera toward Lamar ‘Prop’ Atkins. She presses “record.”

Filmmaker Huang Receives Grant for a Graffiti Art Documentary

Renowned filmmaker Weiying (Olivia) Huang has received a grant for a documentary film in 2019. As part of the grant program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, this funding was awarded the ough the Cambridge Arts Council. Huang is a director and producer with a background in fine arts and graphic design.

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