Legal graffiti walls planned in bid to 'transform run down areas'

Parts of Glasgow could be turned into makeshift street art galleries as part of a 'celebration' of the subculture.

Glasgow to introduce legal graffiti walls to give youths ‘space to develop talent’ and ‘transform areas’ iStock

Legal graffiti walls are set to be rolled out in Glasgow to give youths a chance to develop talent and help “transform rundown areas“.

Residents can help choose where the legal walls would be situated in their communities and one option is under the motorway towards Royston. 

A number of SNP councillors are calling for the move and talks have been taking place with other cities which promote street art.

The first wall could be ready by the summer if plans are signed off.

City councillors said they want to “embrace this artform” and “celebrate the talent” the council has “long painted over.” They point out Glasgow has a “long history of street art subculture.”

Convener for neighbourhood services and assets, councillor Ruairi Kelly, said: “Street art is a vibrant part of our city’s culture and I want to enable our local artists to be able to create and display their work in their own neighbourhoods.

“The creation of ‘legal walls’ could not only help to transform rundown areas of the city but be a way of engaging with young people and enabling them to develop their talent without the fear of criminalisation or the need to access often dangerous places.”

The SNP politician added: “If we can change our approach and work with those who know this community best to create a policy that supports artists, reduces vandalism and improves areas in our communities then I think that is a much better use of money than just chasing our tails and painting over walls on a weekly basis.”

Councillor Allan Casey, SNP, has been working with group and art organisations to find a new dedicated graffiti art space. 

He said: “Under the motorway heading to Royston has always been a problem spot and is in need of some attention. Working with young people and artists we could turn a negative space into a real community asset similar to what was done at Anderston Station but with the ability to be continually updated.”

The councillors pointed out artists and organisations including Colour Ways and SWG3 have already been at the forefront of championing graffiti art. 

The politicians now intend to work with groups and people involved in street art to develop a policy to promote the Glasgow cultural scene. 

SNP councillor Annette Christie, city convenor for culture, sport and international relations, has been speaking to other cities that have embraced street art to transform areas, celebrate cultural heritage and engage in creating contemporary creative pieces.  

Pointing out how public art gives people the chance to see talent, councillor Christie highlighted the case of a kinetic art piece being put back on display in Queens Park after it was in storage for years. A previous attempt to show it in 1994 failed when kids started playing on it. 

Bailie Christie said: “It’s just two years ago, that we returned to public display in Queens Park the stainless steel kinetic art piece, Three Right Angles Horizontal, by internationally renowned artist George Rickey.

“After just 24 hours in Festival Park the decision was taken to immobilise the piece and it was removed from Festival Park in June 1994 after only one month on public display. Public and street art is a way to ensure that all of our citizens can experience the artistic talent our city has to display.”

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