Exhibition of street art opens at Worcester Art Gallery

Paint the Streets, in partnership with Worcester Paint Festival, features work by pivotal artists from the US and UK including Shepard Fairey (Obey), Banksy, Goldie and Inkie, alongside a selection of current street artists who have been part of Worcester Paint Festival.

The exhibition has been co-curated with Kate Cox, founder of the Worcester Paint Festival, which over the past three years has successfully raised the profile of street art in the city.

Although people have been expressing themselves via caves, walls and streets throughout history, the first ‘graffiti’ appeared on walls in Philadelphia in 1965. In the late 70s and early 80s there was a boom in the graffiti scene in New York.

In 1984, UK graffiti culture exploded from London to Glasgow, with significant clusters in Bristol and the Midlands.

Worcester was represented by young graffiti artists making their marks across the city at this time and later creating their own event – Class of 89 – which drew young artists from the UK and beyond. Worcester’s first street art exhibition was held at the Art Gallery & Museum in 1990.

Celebrating street art, murals and graffiti, Worcester Paint Festival started in 2020, with a handful of murals (due to the pandemic), before the first festival launched in 2021.

The festival aims to inspire, include and educate, delivering murals to the city each year from both established and emerging artists, and working with the city’s communities. Paint the Streets features artists who have been linked to Worcester Paint Festival, both past and current, from 2D pieces to spray cans and other items.

The exhibition includes works on loan from East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Worcester Paint Festival artists and the archives of private lenders.

Deborah Fox, senior curator at the Art Gallery and Museum, said: “We are very pleased to collaborate with Worcester Paint Festival to bring Paint the Streets to the Art Gallery & Museum. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate Worcester’s home-grown street artists alongside big names such as Goldie and Banksy”.

Kate Cox, curator of Worcester Paint Festival and co-curator of Paint the Streets, added: “It’s great to be able to tell the story of this controversial yet vibrant underground scene. Graffiti and street art history is so important culturally. We hope to educate, showing the intricacy and work involved, alongside an opportunity to view rare works from the early scene.

“We expect thousands of visitors to visit the city during the festival weekend and beyond, and hope the city will once again embrace both the murals and Paint the Streets.”

Worcester Paint Festival takes place this weekend The art gallery and museum will be open all weekend, including a special opening on Sunday from 10.30am – 4.30pm.

Paint the Streets is on at Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum from tomorrow (September 16) to January 6 and entry is free.

For more information, please visit www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk

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