Democracy and participation, Arts and cultural activities

International Street Art Festival Patras|ArtWalk

The ArtWalk is an annual festival which is being organized in Patra’s public space. In every edition (currently on the 5th) 10 contemporary, legal and large scale murals are being implemented.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Kleomenis Kostopoulos

Art in Progress

http://www.artinprogress.eu/

Greece

Who is joining forces?

Idea

Idea pitch

The ArtWalk tackles the problems of low social cohesion in the city’s public space, the anti-European policy of the municipal government, and the underdevelopment of contemporary culture in the wider RWG. Our goal is the emancipation and the democratization of the public space and the economic development through contemporary culture. By implementing ArtWalk we aim in the engagement of the whole city while creating a new, dynamic and outward-looking identity for Patras.

Where will your project idea take place?

Patras, a city with low social cohesion, is the biggest in the RWG and the capital of Peloponnese.

What is the local challenge?

Since the Greek economic crisis two social problems have emerged in our society:

1. The decrease in the sense of “belonging” in the EU. Not only during the crisis but also nowadays, many political parties based on populism, have convinced the public that the country which developed the ideals of democracy, philosophy, and civilization, should have a better future outside the European family. It is not by chance, that the current municipal government has been represented for 6 years, by a political party which has a clear anti-European policy and propaganda.
2. The degradation of the citizens’ everyday life has decreased their enthusiasm for the public space’s discourses. Α situation which was worsened due to the recent global pandemic of Covid-19.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

We confront all the aforementioned problems through the medium of Street Art & the participation of European artists in our festival. Street Art, is a contemporary visual form of interaction. It is the city’s unconventional & spontaneous “child” which is characterized by democracy, forwardness & freedom of speech. Its canvas is the city itself, which mobilizes with concepts/messages and feelings. Τhe coexistence of public art and public space depends on the public’s participation. It removes the element of intimidation from the citizen and by evoking public discussions and discourses, it eradicates “public silence”. Thus, the ArtWalk offers a healthy environment of participation & creation, by transforming the residents from passengers and consumers to active and energetic citizens.

Who are you doing it for?

ArtWalk refers to all citizens without exception.
Street Art has in its DNA the democratic diffusion of its message. It intervenes in various and critical ways by sensitizing the contemporary citizen. It deals with social or racist violence, historical memory, intolerance, immigrants, etc., while all marginalized communities have a prominent place, giving everyone the freedom to integrate into a public debate. It exists in the city & through the element of surprise; it "awakens" the eyes of the passer-by, regardless of social, economic, religious, racial or age specificity. It doesn't matter if you are an expert or not, if you are a visitor or a permanent resident, if you are an immigrant or a tourist because the power of image & Art speaks to all of us as a universal language.

How do you plan to get there?

ArtWalk is already a very successful project. The members of the AiP's team have gained extensive experience & know-how at all stages of the festival's production.
Firstly, we invite famous street artists from all over Europe and volunteers through our open call invitations. Citizens provide their walls & legal permits are issued for the realization of projects. Then we make the necessary preparations for the lifting machines, the colors, the preparation of the walls, the multimedia coverage of the Festival (photo, video, interviews, etc.), our communication campaign through social media & finally through the hosting of the street artists we create the setting for murals to be painted in targeted locations of Patras,filling, thus, the city with pictures, questions, thoughts & challenges.

What are the expected results?

The expected results will be the targeted & well-crafted infrastructure of ArtWalk, the even greater dissemination of our message & the implementation of targeted projects with an even more intense social character. Our success will be measured by our collaborations with the local community, the integration of marginalized groups & the impact on the social media pages of the event.
In the last 2 years, 27 European street artists have participated in ArtWalk. Currently, there are 31 murals in the city, and in the coming years we want Patras to claim the title of the city with the most murals in all of Europe. In this way, we will create through our vision, the healthy sense of "belonging" to the EU, a new identity & confidence in the local community and in the rest of the country.

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

The German poet & philosopher Goethe once said “Science & art belong to the whole world, and the barriers of nationality vanish before them".
The phenomenon of artistic interventions in public space is the most democratic manifestation of contemporary Art & not unjustly so. Millions of passers-by, thousands of viral content, hundreds of thousands of posts, millions of likes, followers & comments flood social media every day, affecting all age groups, contributing to the dynamics of a democratic & interactive virtual "tsunami".
The murals can promote democracy since they are contemporary monuments of critical thinking and give a completely new identity to the cities.
ArtWalk has the characteristics to set an example of a good practice for the entire EU.

What is your story?

ArtWalk is important in Patras because we are proving that the crisis in Greece is not only economic but deeply social & primarily cultural.
Our motivation is to collect the "garbage" of a city & through synergies to turn it into something valuable, such as works of art. To convince the world that a society of citizens with a vision can influence our daily lives, activate public debate, raise public awareness, give prestige to local communities & positively & substantially change society's perception.
Our mission is to respond to the crisis by highlighting that contemporary culture can actively contribute to social change, democratic processes, political decisions & create extroversion throughout an entire city.

€ 50,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 355,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Hosting of the Artists: 47.000 euros
Renting of Lift Trucks: 45.000 euros
Paint: 36.500 euros
Τechnical and Logistical Equipment: 25.000 euros

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like the rest of the members to think about the position, the role & the power of the "image" in the public space of contemporary EU.
Our goal is to get to know the work of the platform's members & to explore the possibilities of collaboration in common & targeted projects in the future.

Team

Art in Progress

Christos Alexiou

Maria Papadiamantopoulou

Kleomenis Kostopoulos

Tatiana Dimou

Karanprashar

Idea created on May 26, 2020
Last edit on June 24, 2020

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