Cape Town mural project puts art on the wall

City of Cape Town will complete the pilot project of a large scale mural initiative, aimed at encouraging tourism and creating a better understanding of public art, by the end of June 2018

‘Public art has become an important focus and brings cultural, social, and economic value to neighbourhoods. It reflects our society and can enrich communities. As a creative City, we are committed to enabling all forms of public art, as well as nurturing and promoting local artists’, said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.
 
The project was conceptualised after the second annual International Public Arts Festival (IPAF) which took place in Salt River last month.
 
The IPAF was initiated and introduced by Baz-Art, a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to harnessing the power of art for the benefit of the public. 
 
The IPAF gives both local and international artists the opportunity to showcase their stories, skills and styles in real time, and on a global platform. Their main aim is to create awareness of public art, bridge the gap between fine art and street art, and to use it as a medium to educate, uplift, and inspire the public.
 
Alderman Smith said the City would undertake a large scale mural project at public housing facilities in all four areas across the city. 
 
‘We will prioritise storytelling through murals by commissioning local artists; involving community participation including consultation and collaboration; as well as skills transfer and skills development for community based artists and emerging artists in communities.
 
‘The City’s Arts and Culture Department is building and formalising a partnership with Baz-Art to get the project going in order to create these growth opportunities,’ explained Alderman Smith.
 
The City is working with the organisation to also grow the International Public Art Festival and extend it to other communities. 
 
‘We want the festival to include a professional advisory role, training and development for emerging artists, exploring mural art residency opportunities for local artists, and using mural art to support the development of local tourism,’ added Alderman Smith.
 
Mural projects can play an important role in transforming spaces and communities all over Cape Town, and in so doing it can also contribute to social and economic development.
 
 
‘With these murals the City hopes to demonstrate the ways in which art can contribute towards transformation in vulnerable communities, establish a positive and stronger neighbourhood identity, make art more accessible to everyone, and improve our public facilities and spaces,’ said Alderman Smith.
 
The pilot project is expected to be completed by the end of June. The location will be announced closer to the launch in June. 
 
A mural art programme will be launched in four identified neighbourhoods in the next financial year. This will be done in partnership with subcouncils and ward councillors, and the murals will be at Council-owned facilities.
 
‘The City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan is focused on creating communal spaces that are more inclusive, safer, and attractive,’ said Alderman Smith.