WALL STREET NACKA
Wall Street Nacka was a mural festival created to give the inhabitants of Nacka Municipality a gigantic outdoor art gallery. 20 artworks were created during a two week period at the beginning of September 2019. 17 of these artworks were urban art murals. In order to produce these 17 murals, we were contracted to curate and produce the artworks. Our primary role was curation, production management, and creating the graphics, print materials, and website for communication.
Stockholm has historically held a very restrictive position when it comes to public art, and especially urban contemporary art. In comparison to other major European cities, Stockholm's lack of public art has lead to a very stiff and plane landscape, where ad campaigns hold a major role as the only alternative to a grey or sterile environment. Because of this, Nacka Municipality, right next to Stockholm, and with a yet even more conservative position, realized that there is a gap in cultural expression, and that there is a room to be filled as a cultural focal point.
To tackle this, Nacka Kommun decided to create a public art gallery, by providing art based on a set of criteria set by the politicians. Due to the fact that Stockholms has a long-held tradition of zero tolerance towards graffiti and street art, it was a big step to get the local politics and inhabitants to accept the project. Something that came to spark a huge debate as the festival began. Very much due to the politically set criteria referred to as the DNA-Code.
The festival created a heated debate and generated a lot of criticism from several different actors. Some said that the festival gave people who otherwise vandalize an open forum to get paid for the same type of vandalism. Others argued that the festival held a set of too restrictive criteria as to who was allowed to participate as an artist and that this was an act of censorship.
However, as we spent the project being at the sites where the murals were being created, we talked to the bypassers, elderly, kids, middle-aged, parents, and everybody else who passed by. The response could not have been more positive. Kids left us who wanted to get home and work on their crafts, people came by every day to check out the progress, taking pictures and asking questions, and elderly bringing friends and family to show whats going on in their neighborhood were just some of the meeting we witnessed. Also, all the artists were fully satisfied with everything regarding the productions and terms.
The realisation here is that even if a small group of people who know how to make their voices heard might not approve, chances are that a lot of people will still appreciate what you are doing. For us, the people on the street are the people we want to create for, not the gatekeepers and trolls online. They are far more in numbers, just less active online.
We were contacted by Nacka municipality in the fall of 2018 during the start-up phase of the festival. Our first assignment was to consult on the proposed strategy and ambitions of the festival. We worked hard on a list of artists with the ambition to create as big of a diverse line-up as possible, aiming for the most interesting the festival could be. We had a lot of freedom in doing this, yet also had a framework to base our work upon.
Between the 1st and 15th of September 2019 the festival took place, and over the 15 day period we had transformed Nacka into a gigantic public art gallery and made countless new friends and colleagues. Also, leaving Nacka, who only had 1 mural previously, with 17 more!