Freelance writer living in Melbourne. If you enjoy the following article please click on the 'like' button to give me feedback. I am a mum to two very active boys, who is trying to share her passion for nature, art, social justice and a love of life.
Published January 21st 2014
Get fit walking while the kids photograph amazing street art
Johnston Street is a fabulous, funky street full of amazing galleries, artist's studios, cafes, and unique clothing and furniture shops. The street is worth the walk just for the shops and cafes, but I would recommend popping the kids in the pram and giving them a camera to capture the amazing works of street art that are prolific in the area. This article discusses the city side of Johnston Street between Hoddle Street and Nicholson Street.
Appreciating art is easy for kids when it involves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
There are many places to find fantastic street art on Johnston Street but as always check them out before you direct your child's focus towards them as sometimes the art work is for adult's eyes only.
Start your day at Abbotsford Convent and park all day for only $6.00. Pop on your walking shoes and head left towards the city, sticking to the left hand side/city side of the road. Hoddle Street is about a 10 minute walk. On our walk, we saw a huge Pinocchio at the Hoddle Street intersection, as well as various other bright and colourful pieces. Due to the nature of street art, there could be a brand new piece of art from one week to the next, so please post comments about anything new that you see when you do your walk.
As you wander towards Nicholson Street, take your time to appreciate the eclectic collection of shops along the way. If you like collectibles, hand made furniture from recycled wood, and unique design, Johnston Street has it all.
On the block between Hoddle Street and Wellington Street there are so many amazing pieces. Kids will be able to photograph the art, touch it, and look for all the amazing hidden gems often found in street art. Some of the artists are also quite famous and well renowned. For example, it is possible that the piece below is done by Seventh Letter?
Keep wandering and if your children are a little afraid of bugs... get ready! Just around the corner you will find a massive beetle and a huge yellow scorpion. Wandering further towards Brunswick Street, keep looking left down the alleys and lane ways to find brilliant colourful art work. On the corner of Young Street you will find the fabulous Vespa House lady and her scantily clad friend across the road.
My mind is awash with thoughts about what this means.
When you see Mark Tuckey on the right hand side, Chapel Street is the next little street on your left. This is where you will find the Juddy Roller Cafe, the perfect place to stop for a coffee and a ham/cheese croissant if you are appreciating street art on Johnston Street with kids. There is an open "garden' for little kids to sit at and the coffee is great, let alone the gallery that surrounds you. Just watch out, as you will cross a street to get to the 'garden'. The talent that exudes from these people is simply astounding.
A great spot to stop with the kids and have a cuppa.
There are so many more along the way and because new ones appear regularly, each visit to Johnston Street will provide you with new art to admire. There are also smaller 3D pieces (i.e. made from clay, etc.) that your kids can try to find, such as a 'doughnut with teeth". Hint: it is at Juddy Roller or the little guy in the photo below.
If you want to make a treasure hunt for your children, ask them to find these gems (all are on walls, not 3D):
a walrus with a cat on his head
a flying elephant
- a crocheted / knitted bike
- a turtle with the city on his back
- the cat in a hat
Once you get to Nicholson Street, you can either cross over Johnstone Street and head back down the other side or catch the bus (200, 201 or 207) and it will drop you back at the Abbotsford Convent for lunch. Walking one way is just under three kilometre and with photographing kids it will take about an hour, whereas the bus takes only 20 minutes to return. Always check with the bus driver that it will go passed the Convent just in case.