Call for street art program | GALLERY

Ballarat should investigate a street art program similar to the highly successful Benalla Wall to Wall Festival, according to councillor Des Hudson.

BETTER OPTION: Ballarat City councillor Des Hudson says walls covered in graffiti could be improved by adopting Benalla's successful street art program. Picture: Lachlan Bence/ Mural picture: Darren Watkins

BETTER OPTION: Ballarat City councillor Des Hudson says walls covered in graffiti could be improved by adopting Benalla's successful street art program. Picture: Lachlan Bence/ Mural picture: Darren Watkins

Cr Hudson said it would boost the town’s art and culture profile while also cutting down graffiti.

The Wall to Wall Festival was started by local artist group Benalla Street Art in 2015 and involved artists from all over the world painting 14 murals on bare walls over one weekend.

This year’s festival added another 14 murals, with one recently voted the eighth best in the world.

“A festival is a great way to build a street art collection,” Cr Hudson said.

“Benalla has amazing street art and it’s a big tourist attraction.

“Look how popular Ballarat was with the Archies. We could bring street art or urban art into the town and have world class artists renowned for their paintings.

“From a crime prevention view we could also focus on walls that are being graffitied or tagged a lot.”

Cr Hudson said he would raise the issue at the first 2017 meeting of the City of Ballarat’s Public Art Advisory Committee.

However, he also said local business owners could benefit, with less graffiti and blank shop walls becoming an art form.

“Look at the art in Brim on the silos. Legitimate street art is a form of community expression so let’s embrace it.”

Cr Hudson said Adelaide’s historic Glenelg suburb had embraced a street art precinct.

“Ballarat could certainly do street art well.”

“It’s an opportunity for people to have art spaces where graffiti is currently appearing.”

The latest council statistics show there are 120 graffiti removal jobs in Ballarat a month.

“Look at the the details in those art works. We have talented street artists in Ballarat, like Cax, who could do something similar.

“We have the talent and we have the blank canvases. We, as a community, have the chance to grow the art and culture of Ballarat.

“There’s lots of different neighbourhoods where we could have lots of different projects.”

Cr Hudson said possible street art sites in Ballarat could include a blank sports store wall on Bakery Hill and a frequently tagged swim school wall in Delacombe.

“Look at the other centres making themselves a bold destination. Street art is a growing art form and it is growing in popularity.”

Benalla Street Art said the Wall to Wall Festival was funded by residents and businesses, who donated more than $20,000.

A spokesman said the festival weekend in March drew thousands of people to “watch the artwork appear in front of their eyes”.

“The excitement, the buzz, the interest and the spirit of it all was tangible,” the spokesman said.

“The results are truly amazing and speak for themselves. The festival is now an annual event that seals Benalla as the street art capital of Australia.”