Plan to grow public art in Ballarat CBD

Cr Des Hudson
Cr Des Hudson

Vacant city walls targeted by vandals could become canvases for talented artists to create beautiful public art under a new plan. 

Councillor Belinda Coates called for a report into a public art strategy at last Wednesday’s council meeting to investigate the possibility of commissioning artists to create artwork on vacant walls.

The report, which was agreed to by councils, will look at potential sites, the costs and benefits of such a project.

“We are looking at a street art action plan. We do have a lot of people in our local area who are street artists – and something that has been asked for over of time is a space where people can hone their skills and learn about street art,” Cr Coates said.

“I asked for a briefing report to consider a space  for a free wall site and or a street art action plan to look at ways we can foster and encourage artists.” 

Cr Des Hudson said it was important to distinguish between illegal graffiti, such as tagging, which costs City of Ballarat a quarter of a million dollars to remove each year, and street art.

Cr Hudson said investing in street art acted as a deterrent for graffiti.

Local street artist CAX previously told The Courier Ballarat urban artists should be the centre of a plan to replicate the successful Benalla art program.

“Anywhere that already gets tagged would be perfect too. It’s making use of space that people are already interested in,” CAX said.

“Any abandoned buildings that sit vacant for years before they are demolished would be perfect too.”

Cr Coates said the report was the initial step in  a program she hoped local businesses would get support.