exploreCalgary’s Street Art

CB |

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mC:t    2015.06.05      #makeCalgaryexplore      #makeCalgarytalk

 

Public art and street art have become popular topics in Calgary over the past few years. I’m sure we all remember the blue ring that stirred so much controversy. With Calgary’s increased inclusion of public art in the budget, there becomes a question of how this money is being spent and what kinds of art do we, as Calgarians, want to see. In many cities around the world, drab laneways and blank, deteriorating buildings are transformed into a magnificent piece of art through graffiti. From Malaysia to Melbourne, Tehran to Mexico City, the culture of street art is a form of expression as well as urban beautification. So I set out yesterday to explore the “rougher” side of Calgary’s art scene. The City states that “if graffiti is left on a property, it will spread to the surrounding buildings and throughout the community.” It sounds as though they’re suggesting that graffiti is a virus; alive and infectious and in need of being controlled. However, if you ask me, when limits are placed upon where graffiti and other forms of street art can exist, it has the power to create a sense of magic in a city. While graffiti is still illegal in the city, there are some areas that have beautiful street art.  Along 10th Street NW, graffiti changes a grimy laneway into an art gallery.

 

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And random installations can create a sense of wonder and intrigue, much like the crocheted car in Sunnyside which never fails to attract the attention of people passing by.

 

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It has been seen that here is a desire for these grassroots art forms in Calgary. Such was the message of Wreck City, a series of homes slated for demolition that were transformed into a temporary alternative art gallery.
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Today a midrise residential building stands in the place where these bustling little houses used to be.

 

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So with a desire to find out more about the city’s street art, I set out on my own little exploration of what Calgary’s graffiti scene has to offer. The walk began in Kensignton to observe the results of the 2012 Graffiti Jam. As I walked, I spotted street art in other places throughout the neighborhood and caught a few other people enjoying the artwork.

 

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I then passed through Chinatown where I had caught word of alleys filled graffiti in attempt to curb unwanted vandalism. Turns out this one was a bit more difficult to find, tucked within a narrow alley. I have passed this place many times, completely oblivious to what exists beyond those walls.

 

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The journey ends with a random collection of street art from around the city. Feel free to share your own street art finds with us using #makecalgaryexplore.

 

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What are your thoughts on graffiti: Gallery or Virus?
Are there cities that you have visited with vibrant street art cultures?
What do you want to see for the future of street art and graffiti in Calgary?
Have you spotted any fantastic street art in our city?
Let us know.

CB

Next: exploreCalgary’s Sense of Discovery
Previous: exploreCalgary’s Public Spaces

makeCalgary:talk provokes conversation among Calgarians about the design of our city. Catch up with us on Twitter (@makecalgarytalk), Instagram (makecalgarytalk), or Facebook.