Street art can make a city look truly amazing. We’re not talking the tagging you may be used to seeing – we’re talking about beautiful artworks which everyone can appreciate. It improves the urban environment, cleans up vandalised areas, and encourages the public to take ownership of their spaces and take pride in their city. Another bonus is that street art actually discourages vandalism and tagging, as areas with art already in place are far less likely to be targeted. You only have to look to the massive North/South public street art piece under the Tay Road Bridge to demonstrate this.
With the booming creative scene in Dundee - from the Dundee Design Festival to the DCA, Generator Projects and Wasps studios, not to mention the soon-to- open V&A - we thought it was high time Dundee saw some more street art. The aim of the project is to brighten up areas which are prone to vandalism, opening them up to the public and encouraging them to explore their city and go places they may not normally go, using new and exciting routes to rediscover their city.
In the summer of 2017 we had support from Place Partnership, Scottish Enterprise and some amazing local business which allowed us to organise a trial project of 18 painted doors in lanes, closes and alleyways around the city centre – all receiving makeovers courtesy of local artists who couldn’t wait to whip out their cans and brushes. The trail was initially funded for 6 doors, but the project snowballed when artists heard about it and over half these artists volunteered their time and paints to the project which we were absolutely blown away by, and are forever grateful for. These artworks are all located in the city centre, and the trail can easily be completed in around an hour – either self-guided using one of our maps.
The success of this trail and the overwhelming public support led us to work with the Stobswell Forum in creating a second trail in more visible areas around the streets of Stobswell. The aim with this trail is to encourage tourists from within and outwith Dundee to visit and get to know the area, and a slice of real Dundee that is simply not available down at the waterfront. Funding this time came from the Mayfield Regeneration Forum as well and the NHS Community Innovation Fund, allowing us to pay all artists for their work. The trail highlights projects, shops, areas and buildings of interest in Stobswell, encouraging people to explore their city whilst potentially bringing trade to local business.
Going further, we plan to use to use the funding from map sales, tours and collaborations with local businesses to be able to fund more artworks in other areas, supporting local artists and improving our great city at the same time. We hope you enjoy exploring the artworks and the trails, and that you walk away with a fresh new perspective on Dundee.