Our everyday work focuses on the improvement of buildings, which is why news of urban renewal and community art projects is always interesting to us. While we take clearly different approaches for our work and the mural painter the objective is still the same – protect and beautify.
Internationally studies have now shown that public art protects the buildings by changing attitudes to the surrounding neighbourhood.
Like the painted cityscape image here from Lyon, France, a sense of pride is instilled by the building, which results in less smaller crimes such as littering and vandalism.
In the United States, Philadelphia founded the Mural Arts Program in 1986. The city now employs more than 300 artists each year, 100 of whom are previously prosecuted graffiti vandals.
Closer to home the Dunedin Street Art initiative has transformed the previously downbeat warehouse district. In Christchurch the dramatic reshaping of the city centre created a number of highly visible ‘blank canvases’ for new artworks to appear on. In Auckland and Wellington too there are bold statements and hidden gems to be found.
In schools murals can also make a big difference, provided they are correctly scoped, expertly created and properly maintained. These spaces are helpful for installing student pride while ensuring art classes have authentic learning experiences within a curriculum project.
There are many ways to improve the appearance of commercial, educational and industrial buildings. While we certainly work in a less artistic manner (generally) we still appreciate and champion the colour and charisma these artworks bring to our cities and our schools.