A labour of love which has helped transform drab walls in Waterford into works of art has proved a resounding success.
Organisers say the Waterford Walls event had surpassed all expectations as locals and visitors flocked to the city to see 22 artists armed with paintbrushes, stencils and spray cans, take to cherry pickers, ladders and scaffolding to complete their works.
“We had hoped the project would impact the city in a positive way,” said project manager Edel Tobin.
“We knew the artists were going to deliver some really exciting pieces which would energise the aesthetic of the city. However, the extent of the positivity from the public and community has been overwhelming. From families and senior citizens to teenagers and children, the people have embraced the artists and the project wholeheartedly and the atmosphere has been electric. People are already talking about next year’s event so the response has exceeded all expectations.”
Members of the public shouted support from the pavements and chatted to artists at ground level. Some even had an opportunity to participate in a piece of street art, as KinMx (Katrina Rupit) offered passers-by the chance to spray paint messages on her Waterford wall. Artists gave live art demo talks each day, whilst the New Street Gardens (a pop-up urban garden) was a hub of activity with a daytime festival club featuring live music, food and family activities. The Hive Gallery on Michael St hosted the opening event and is exhibiting artwork from the street artists partaking in the project.
Ms Tobin paid tribute to “the generosity of the community” for facilitating the project. Permission to use the various walls was generously granted by a large number of different owners around the city whilst sponsorship for the project came from a variety of sources, including Waterford Council, the American Ireland Fund and many local businesses. Where smaller businesses wanted to get involved, organisers pooled contributions to create collective community sponsors, which she felt was in keeping with the ethos of the project.
“We are also completely indebted to these wonderful artists for waiving their usual fees to help us get this project started,” she added.
“Waterford Walls has been a labour of love. It is refreshing to see Waterford leading the way in this creative endeavour and we hope other towns and cities around Ireland embrace street art and continue to support these exceptional artists.”
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