In March 2015, the Tocumwal Street Party brought art, music, food, culture and life to a lane just off Bunda Street in Canberra’s CBD. The event, an initiative of In The City Canberra (ITCC), hoped to raise awareness around differences between illegal, vandalism graffiti, and approved, urban art, so as to combat escalating public cleaning costs and improve the visual aesthetics of our CBD’s back alleys.
ITCC CEO Jane Easthope said “illegal graffiti removal across Canberra costs tax payers around $600,000 per annum. Here in the CBD we remove about 400 every year, using the special levy collected from people and businesses who own property used for commercial purposes; not residential or institutional. The intensity of repeat vandalism on privately owned building walls can be remediated, if appropriately curated street art is performed legally with the business owner’s permission.”
As part the event, ten notable artists painted blank walls supported by friends and aspiring artists including St Eddies Visual Arts students and their teacher. Coordinated by well-known local artist, Geoff Filmer, the community were also invited to add their artistic expressions through master classes. Beach Burrito opened their laneway back door and served sangrias and burritos whilst DJ Juzlo provided music throughout the day.
The success of the day has paved the way for more events and opportunities for artists in Canberra, as businesses around the Capital often seek local artists to liven up their commercial areas. The laneway was cleaned and now appears cared-for, as there is less rubbish dumping and more order to bin placement. Subsequently, the Canberra District Wine Industry Association had a sensational event last November using the backdrop of super heroes, which has subsequently become a well-known backdrop for fashion photoshoots.
In her review of the value such an initiative provided to local business owners and the community, Jane said “It’s fabulous. We do this to move away from the ‘planned corporate look’ and to give the city vitality and make it more interesting. It shows we’re generating a unique character and helps to steer creative expression in positive directions.”
ITCC organised the Tocumwal Lane Street Party to create conversation and transform the area into an engaging and attractive part of the CBD.
The success of the event stands today, with the area continuing to generate excitement for Canberra’s new and returning tourists and visitors as ITCC and their partners continue to rollout street art. Check out the walls behind the City Youth Hostel in Hillside Lane, behind the City Walk Apartments in Riverside Lane, behind Baileys Arcade in Saraton Lane and next to Knightsbridge in Braddon and the building south of the Hamlet on Lonsdale.
The more recent addition on the wall associated with the City’s skate park on Cooyong Street is an obvious example of the extraordinary talents of our emerging and established street artists.
Come to Taste of Braddon in November to participate in our next master class!