We art streets ahead

February 03, 2018

Australian-born street artist Smug at work on his large-scale mural, executed in his hyper realistic style.

Look out Berlin, Lisbon, London and Los Angeles.

The popular, larger-than-life Benalla Street Art Wall to Wall Festival has been locked in for the fourth year.

The festival has in recent years been hailed as a huge success for the town and boosted Benalla’s profile within the ranks of the nation’s top street art hubs.

The Victorian Government has committed $125000 for this year’s four-day festival, set to begin on March 9.

Festival committee chair Roxanne Demasson said the annual get-together created jobs, brought visitors to Benalla and injected ‘‘new energy and colour to our town’’.

‘‘It is strengthening our local arts scene and creating pathways into the arts for young people across the region,’’ she said.

‘‘In 2017, an estimated 5800 visitors attended the festival while a projected $1.5million was delivered into the town over the four months following the festival,’’ according to a Benalla Rural City Council economic impact report.

Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the festival had made the town the ‘‘regional street art capital of Australia’’.

Ms Symes was grateful for the local support and the participation of renowned international artists.

‘‘I’m thrilled that Labor is yet again supporting the Wall to Wall festival in my home town,’’ she said.

‘‘It has reinvigorated Benalla, putting it on the world stage as a leader in street art. The festival brings thousands of people to my beautiful home town, boosting the local economy and supporting local jobs.’’

Festival artistic director Shaun Hossack labelled Benalla the ‘‘most exciting street art location in the country’’.

‘‘There isn’t another place in Australia that has so many high-quality murals in such a small area,’’ he said.

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