What Makes a Good Street Art Festival?

bjarni wark street artist

From: Murals & Illustrations /

My Checklist for Street Art Festivals

I have been fortunate to have participated in a number of street art festivals that I wanted to share what I felt makes a good one.

I’ve broken it down into 6 categories that I recommend considering when going to participate in the festival to make it a good experience for you the artist.

Good Street Art Festivals Consist of:

  • Creative Freedom
  • Participating Artists
  • The Community / Audience
  • Organisers
  • Wall Condition and Location
  • Money

Creative Freedom

After being involved with a number of streets art festivals I have had the experience of having minimal freedom and of creating anything I like. I will explain how they differ from one other and why too.

The times that I have had minimal creative freedom is when there is a restrictive theme around the street art festival or a third party involvement. Third-party, for example, the property owner of the wall requests a particular art theme and review process.

You need to check with yourself if you are prepared to work in this fashion and may want to refer to the last item on my checklist, the money involved and is it worth your time or add value to your practice.

creative freedom

Participating Artists

Street art festivals for me have always been a delight to meet other artists. In some ways, you become this little family of friends while at the festival.

The Community / Audience

When you are painting at a festival it is more than likely it has been promoted and you will have a community audience watching the artworks unfold.

In general, I have found it is good to take the time to chat for the simple reason to make a connection with the community and the artform we do. It is most of the time a rewarding two-way experience and a way to promote the work we do as an artist and may help break down some stereotypes of the artform.

Street Art Festival Organisers

How easy the wheel spins depends on how well it is lubricated. By this I mean if the organisers have gone through all the things that make it easier for you the artist to focus on your work. This can range from having your supplies ready to go, organising comfortable accommodation to checking in on you throughout the day.

Wall Condition and Location

This is a good one to check out as your wall/area to paint may be extremely hard to paint due to the condition and access to the wall. It is not always going to be the case and at times you may have the dream wall to work on that is in an excellent condition and a prime location.

In some street art festivals, I have been able to apply for a particular wall while in others I have just been allocated a wall. You need to be flexible with it or best to seek clarification beforehand if you are going to be comfortable with the wall allocated to you.

brisbane mural
This wall was tucked down an alleyway outside the toilets

Money

Not all street art festivals are going to be about the money and it seems common that there isn’t going to be much of it for the artist.

There is a whole article that could be expanded on the money side of festivals and if festivals are a good thing for those wanting to make a living from street art.

It can feel that when the artists are paid a bare minimum and that a large number of walls are been painted that it drains future financial opportunities.

When it comes to the money I normally will combine it with my first point of creative freedom to give measure if it will be worth it.

Street Art Festival FAQ’s

Do Street Art Festivals Pay the Artists

Most of the time they will though payment will vary greatly from one festival to the next. Payment may also take the form of accommodation, materials and travel costs.

How Much Money Will Street Artists Get

This can vary from covering their travel, paints and accommodation to that of decent money as if it was a commercially paid project.

How to Join a Street Art Festival

Normally there is a pre-selection process where the artist needs to submit examples of one work and prior history of painting small or large murals along with a validation of using specific equipment.

Who Organisers Street Art Festivals

This can range from government departments to independent organisations or even individuals with a passion for the street art movement.

Who Sponsors Street Art Festivals

You will normally find sponsors from places of accommodation, building owners, paint and brush companies or organisations or events that wish to promote a cause through street art.

Thanks to BEN CALVERT for the top banner photo too.

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