STREET art can enhance the built landscape and relies on artistic skill, unlike the territorial vandalism of graffiti tagging that accelerates urban decay.
From murals that span multi-storeys to pint-sized stencils on a bus-stop wall, this form of expression often brings new life to otherwise boring and forgotten spaces.
Urban artists in cities across the globe increasingly are respected for their provocative and beautiful contributions. Australia, too, is embracing this new artform. Renowned for its grungy laneways and hip public spaces, Melbourne’s street art scene has developed international recognition. In fact, the City of Melbourne has adopted a Graffiti Management Plan, which maintains a register of art that has the blessing of property owners and provides a way for artists and building owners to connect.
In Canberra, blank city canvasses are attracting exciting creativity. A mural in Odgers Lane has transformed an unwelcoming space into a new destination. There’s no parking for rocket ships in New Acton. A lush oasis has appeared in a carpark off Ainslie Place and “Walter” greets us with a stenciled smile on unexpected walls around the city. It’s clear that street art is finding its way into our urban heart. And I, for one, like it.
Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia