On Saturday 20 June, Street Art Murals Australia (SAMA), in partnership with Blue Mountains Cultural Centre will open what is believed to be Australia’s largest outdoor street art gallery. Known simply as the Street Art Walk, the gallery consists of over 30 mural sites, with more than 3,000 square meters of wall space to be transformed into a canvas for some of the world’s best street artists. Many of the sites are up to three storey’s high, giving ample space for the artists to paint impressive large-scale murals.
Participating artists including Anthony Lister, Nico Nicoson, Peque VRS, L7M, Phibs, Cines & Jekse and Sid Tapia will fly in from across the world to transform the space with the cutting-edge techniques and styles they are renowned for; inspiring and challenging the thousands of people who will be part of the launch.
The Street Art Walk was partially funded through a successful crowd-funding campaign where over 150 individuals contributed collectively over $19,000 to launch the space and it will be a tangible example of the benefits of supporting street art, urban beautification, artist validation, tourism, and social inclusion.
‘The Blue Mountains have always been seen as a drawcard for creatives. By SAMA and the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre partnering in the development of Street At Walk, not only are we building on the region’s proud artistic identity but we are showing that the Blue Mountains City Council values and recognises the community benefit of large scale creative projects,’ says Paul Brinkman, Director of Blue Mountains Culture Centre.
Against the colourful backdrop of the street art gallery, a research project led by Dr Neil Hall from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology (as part of a larger ICS-led project) will explore the role digital technology can play in facilitating reciprocal positive engagement between young artists and the community. Through the use of image recognition software and QR codes accompanying each mural site, passers-by will have access to information about the artist and the creation of the artwork through audio and video footage, along with the possibility to provide feedback.
‘We know that young people and communities both benefit from being connected to each other. With this research, we're hoping to see whether the digital technologies associated with the street art walk can help make that connection stronger,’ says Dr Hall.
This research is part of the Transforming Communities and Institutions research project which is one of four projects within the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre funded Program 2 Connected and Creative, led by ICS researcher Associate Professor Amanda Third. The Transforming Communities and Institutions project is concerned with how we might transform institutions, communities and practices using digital technology to support young people’s wellbeing.
The Street Art Walk will be launched in the Beverly Place laneway, Katoomba, Blue Mountains, on Saturday 20 June in conjunction with the 22nd Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival. Over 40,000 people are expected at the event.
Jarrod Wheatley founder and coordinator of SAMA hopes that the Street Art Walk will change public perceptions of street art: ‘We waste vast amounts of tax payers' dollars on the endless cycle of cleaning graffiti, but perhaps even more damaging to our community is that we also fail to capitalise on the positive elements of street art that benefit our whole community. Urban beautification, tourism and increased social inclusion can be street art’s legacy, if we allow it.’
15 June 2015