Art critics, building owners and others may view street art as nothing more than glorified graffiti at its best, and vandalism at its worst, however, the popularity and public consciousness of street art was evident last Sunday at the Tocumwal Lane Street pARTy.
Canberra CBD Limited CEO Jane Easthope said what was a back of house place for deliveries, loading zones and garbage hoppers is now an interesting place to walk through and admire the talents of local artists.
“Canberra CBD Limited organised and paid for the Tocumwal Lane pARTy because in the long term it saves money, creates conversation and most importantly wrestles the laneway back from being a place to store rubbish to an engaging and attractive area of the City,” said Easthope.
“It’s easy to think of good reasons to paint the walls and combine it with a party. The artists are talented and usually come from creative training backgrounds and/or careers such as teaching visual arts in schools. It is through them that the differentiation between vandalism graffiti and urban art can be learnt.
“I am not a fan of “bombing”, which is when people put chunky and often illegible writing and associated graphics up on the wall in their own style, but as long as it is legal, in other words with the permission of the wall owner and of course not offensive, then that’s okay. “
The cost of removing vandalism across the whole of Canberra is approximately $600,000 per year and Easthope said it is also a drain on Canberra CBD resources.
“At least twice a week, Canberra CBD Limited removes graffiti from the privately owned building walls in the CBD, taking away from funds that could be spent on events and activities that bring people into the City,” Easthope said. “Urban art deters graffiti because the vandals tend to respect urban artists.
“The superhero murals on the walls of Tocumwal Lane off Bunda Street are well worth a look and if anyone wants to host a dance party or similar in the laneway, Canberra CBD Limited is happy to help. The transformed laneway already looks like it’s going to be host to dress up for charity day coinciding with Halloween.
Canberra CBD Limited is calling for suggestions for the next laneway that should be given back to the community. Thoughts are currently turning towards Bible Lane that connects from Bunda Street near Academy through to the bus interchange end of City Walk as the next place for a pARTy.