The Waterford Walls International Street Art Festival has come to its fourth edition, and will take place, as always, in the Irish city of Waterford, from August 17th to the 26th. The event was founded by The Walls Project, an association that organizes workshops and guided art tours, and commissions new works. They also promote new ideas to revive public spaces, such as the Waterford Lights – a lighting festival which will launch on February 1st 2019 – and collaborations such as Art in Unexpected Places, Art on the Greenway and Join the Dots.
The actual festival will take place from August 23rd to 26th, when the largest number of events and entertainment will be concentrated. Before, from the 17th to the 22nd, during a sort of pre-festival, visitors will begin to breathe the air of creativity and excitement. The town – a real open-air museum – will host fifty artists this year, which will have at their disposal as many walls on which they can express their art. Visitors will be able to see the different works come to light. Collateral events, such as workshops, debates, art-themed and music-themed guided tours will complete the picture. Over the years, the festival has covered the city walls with over 130 murals. This year it will host some of the most famous street artists in the world, including SMUG One from Australia, Dan Kitchener (British), the French collective Monkey Bird Crew and Irish artists Joe Caslin and Danleo.
Waterford, just like many cities in Europe, fell victim of suburban development policies that pushed residents outside of the city center. With the 2009 recession, the city center became a ghost town, full of empty buildings, doomed to definitive abandon. This festival is not only bringing to the city colors, brightness and noise for a short time: over the years, the entire city has become a canvas for the artists involved, beyond abandoned industrial soon-to-be demolished blocks. A canvas means potential and hope: the project has had so much success among the population that almost none of the works got vandalized. The goal of this unique festival is to bring back people to the center of the city, by making it worth living in and caring for. Now tourists and locals can enjoy a renewed and special city, which is now finally looking forward, thanks to the relation between population and Street Art.