Famous street artists such as Keith Haring and Banksy have proven that public art goes way beyond creative expression and that it can actually provoke conversations about significant issues like human rights and immigration laws. While street art is still illegal in the majority of places unless the artist has been granted permission from the owner, the following cities show off vibrant scenes of street art that are more often than not admired rather than opposed.
The Buenos Aires streets display charming stencils and enormous murals made by both local and global artists. In neighbourhoods like Colegiales, San Telmo, Villa Crespo, and Palermo, urban artworks express everything from lighthearted scenes to political messages. The nonprofit organisation graffitimundo offers walking tours. These tours provide you with an opportunity to learn how street art in the city is linked to its wonderful history.
Public-art programmes such as Galeria de Arte Urbana and the Crono Project have led to spaces across Lisbon being made available for street artists to work their magic on, including recycling bins and building walls. Underdogs Art Gallery offers guided tours of the city, which presents significant murals, along with an explanation of their history.
Montreal hosts the Mural Festival each June. The lively 11-day event brings together esteemed street artists to celebrate the global urban art scene. The city’s local arts community, however, produces some stunning work throughout the course of the year (including in the winter). You can see some of the finest art displays in Montreal by taking a walk down Saint-Laurent Boulevard.
New York City
Street art became prominent in NYC in the 80’s. Visual artists ever since have come from all over the world to spray to their heart’s content on the walls of the city. You can view street installations, pop art stencils, and huge murals in each of the five boroughs, from Bushwick Collective member display in Brooklyn to the iconic Keith Haring “Crack is Wack” in Harlem.
For Bogotá grafiteros, street art is a platform for a commentary on the prickly political past of Columbia. In the downtown area of the capital, Carrera 10 and Avenida Caracas are wonderful places to see magnificent mural walls. The city’s historical part, La Candelaria, displays street art on cultural institutions, storefronts, and hostels. There are tours available from Bogotá Graffiti that offer workshops to anyone with an interest in picking up a can of aerosol and finding their artistic inspiration.
The second-largest city in Australia is
known around the world for its labyrinth of “graffiti laneways” as they’re
called by the locals. Street artists from the world over have left their mark
in the city’s more famous passageways, such as Croft Alley, ACDC Lane, Union
Lane, and Hosier Lane.
To view the most impressive street art in the city, take a tour of the Central Business District in downtown or the hip and happening Fitzroy neighbourhood. Melbourne Street Tours offers the opportunity to see both and is the city’s only group that employs actual street artists as guides.