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Dunedin Street Art

Home > Dunedin > Art | Cultural Events | Galleries | Outdoor | Street Art
by Pete Petterson (subscribe)
I'm a writer blogger who has been resident in the Hutt Valley since the late 1960's. I'm a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. I have seen many people come and go over the years, seen many things good and bad. Time to remember whanau
Published June 8th 2016
Image appears courtesy of Bree Jones (photographer) /
While Dunedin City has long been known for its musical talents over many decades, it is now making a name locally and overseas as a street art destination.

But a reported growing list of to urban artists has left its mark on the walls of the southern city, and building owners are actually welcoming the splash of colour among fading brickwork and drab grey concrete.

It all began, as it often does, by one mural - a giant Tuatara (native New Zealand lizard) painted on the side of a local coffee shop by a visiting Belgian artist ROA a couple of years ago.

"We captured the hearts and imagination of Dunedin, and its grown like topsy since then," said Scott Muir of the Street Art Project to Newshub recently.

Over 30 pieces of street art now dot the walls of the central city, featuring work of both local artists and some big international names.

A UK urban artist recently completed his second piece of work, just down the street from where Poland's NeSpoon was painting one of her trademark lace designs.

One artist comes to Dunedin, and tells another artist what a great town it really is, how friendly and welcoming local people are (and they really are, because I lived there in the mid 60's as an early twenty something). They love all that as well as the experiences of being able to put a piece of their own art on local walls

A local trust coordinates all the different works, liasing with the various artists and the building owners. Many of the latter were initially a little apprehensive about offering up their blank walls to mystery artists.

There was one particular building owner who considered anything on a wall as graffiti and would be a serious problem. But Dunedin Street Art Project agents have convinced him and other dubious building owners of the value of having street art on their buildings.

They changed their minds when they saw positive public reaction and an increase in foot traffic around their businesses. Now owners were actually splitting the costs of bringing artists in and putting thousands of dollars into their walls, which is absolutely fantastic for the new industry. They are beginning to see the currency.

A walking trail has been created to encourage people to explore the city on foot. It's a project that's inspiring local artists and disaffected youth. Budding artists are being discovered.

A kid from working-class South Dunedin sees one of these pieces of work on a wall, it's not London or Milan in a gallery, but right there in their local streets.

The project is creating a sense of pride in this southern centre, and at the same time is brightening up local streets with a thought- provoking outdoor gallery.
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