Street art is a form of public art that can be found in most cities across the world. It is a form of art that is created on public spaces – walls, buildings, and streets – and usually without permission from the authorities. The art is created by individuals who are not necessarily professional artists, but who have a passion for creating art that is both powerful and thought-provoking.
In recent decades, street art has gained more recognition by urban communities for its positive impact on the environment, economy, and social cohesion. In this article, we will explore the various ways that street art has impacted the urban community.
Firstly, street art helps to beautify urban spaces. Murals, installations, and graffiti can transform dull and grey streets into vibrant and colorful public spaces. The art can range from cheerful, humorous, and inspirational designs that evoke positivity, hope, and joy, to thought-provoking and politically charged pieces that stimulate critical thinking and debate. By creating a diverse range of artistic styles, street art can help to create a unique aesthetic that reflects the diverse cultural heritage and social identity of the local community.
Secondly, street art can create economic opportunities for artists. By exhibiting their work publicly, artists can gain exposure and recognition which could translate to financial benefits through art sales, commissions, or collaborations. Furthermore, street art festivals can generate tourism, which helps build a stronger economy and support local businesses by attracting individuals from different parts of the world. In 2019, in the Marrakech Medina in Morocco, the largest street art festival in North Africa called Jidar Festival attracted over 100,000 visitors, drawing international media interest and putting the city on the global street art map.
Thirdly, street art can contribute to social cohesion by bringing communities together. Art is usually created in public spaces which can facilitate social interaction between people from different backgrounds or interests. In addition, street art can serve as a form of cultural expression and preservation. By depicting local customs, history, or issues, street art can help to promote solidarity and foster a sense of belonging among residents.
Lastly, street art can be used as an educational tool. By creating public art, street artists can convey messages about issues that are often overlooked or ignored by mainstream media outlets. Images and visual symbols can communicate powerful messages to the masses, encouraging them to become active participants in social movements or promoting awareness about social injustices. Additionally, street art can provide an alternative form of learning for children and teenagers who might not have access to traditional forms of fine arts education. Several social organizations and NGOs have used street art in their educational programs, teaching young people about the importance of civic engagement, social justice, and cultural heritage preservation.
In conclusion, street art has positive impacts on urban communities. It beautifies public spaces, creates economic opportunities, promotes social cohesion, and serves as an effective tool for education and activism. In the coming years, policymakers, city officials, and local communities need to recognize street art as a vital component of urban life and seek to create spaces that foster street art creation and that will channel the creativity of street artists toward urban revitalization and community-building efforts.