Newcastle emerges as new street art capital

City of Newcastle

Newcastle’s already incredible collection of vibrant and eclectic street art is set to don another nine new large-scale murals with the return of Big Picture Fest this weekend.

City of Newcastle (CN) is supporting the festival as part of New Annual with Special Business Rate funding to bring local, national and international artists together over three days.

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Local street artist Goya Torres, originally from Mexico, will bring to life a wall on Gibson Street with local characters carrying spiritual animals on their shoulders whilst the exterior of Hunter Water’s office will be emblazoned with a striking abstract mural by Noosa-based artist Rosie Woods.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Big Picture Fest enhances Newcastle’s public art scene and contributes to the vibrancy of the city whilst creating an artistic legacy for the community and activates the city to support local businesses.

“Newcastle is a major arts and cultural destination that is entering a new phase of maturity and sophistication thanks to ongoing revitalisation right across our city,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Big Picture Fest is a major international street art activation that brings together local, national and international renowned artists in celebration of art in public spaces in Newcastle.

“The festival celebrates Newcastle’s history and creative culture by showcasing amazing talent through large scale murals in the city for visitors and locals to enjoy.

“Big Picture Fest is a great example of how Special Business Rate funding can be used to help beautify and activate our business precincts which provides a boost to the economy and supports local jobs.”

City of Newcastle’s Public Art Reference Group (PARG) support Big Picture Fest and consult and advise on the artists and murals chosen to enhance Newcastle’s streetscapes.

Councillor and PARG Chair Carol Duncan welcomed back Big Picture Fest and said the festival is a creative way to reinvent and refresh quality artworks across the city.

“Street art is an important component of Newcastle’s changing landscape, documenting our rich industrial, social and cultural history, and plays a significant role in fostering a dynamic and vibrant creative arts sector,” Cr Duncan said.

“City of Newcastle has just created a two-part podcast on the festival Newcastle’s street art scene that is well- worth listening to.”

Big Picture Fest Newcastle Director Katerina Skoumbas said excitement was building for the return of the festival in Newcastle.

“It will be a busy weekend for Newcastle, so we encourage people to get out to see the artists in-situ as the art they create injects so much colour and energy into our city,” Ms Skoumbas said.

Big Picture Fest returns to Newcastle Friday 30 September until Sunday 2 October 2022 and is free for the community to attend.

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