Brighter future for Blenheim CBD

Blenheim town centre could soon be bursting with colour- with sanctioned guerrilla graffiti street art.

The Blenheim Business Association (BBA) have cash, paint, and an artist in mind – they just need walls.

But they’re not wanting a community mural, Blenheim already has plenty of those BBA bosses say.

Blenheim Business Association coordinator Caroline Stone says they have the support to start – it’s just a matter of getting landlords on board.

“Blenheim could use some more colour,” she says.

“[Street art] is not just for big, concrete urban jungles anymore.

“Look at Christchurch, Nelson, even Takaka has an awesome one.”

Caroline says a Facebook post gauging interest shows a huge amount of public support for the initiative.

Graffiti street art in Christchurch which the Blenheim Business Association hope to replicate in Marlborough. Photo: watchthisspace.org.nz

“There are so many people that do want this to happen.

“There will always be people that push back, where they don’t like the style or don’t like change.”

She points out the painted chorus boxes have been popular with Marlburians.

Caroline says they’re not looking to emulate Melbourne’s laneways, they want large, public walls that have a lot of traffic; ideally, street art should just appear, she says.

“It’s a guerrilla art.

“Ideally, it should be thrown up, but we don’t have the people that do it here.

So, it has to be done as a formal process, she says.

“We just need someone to step forward and say, yep.

“A lot of landlords are out of town and are fairly anonymous, with property caught up in family trusts.

Street art in Bluff by artists Flox and TrustMe. Photo: For the Love of Street Art NZ.

“But it’s private property, we need permission.”

She says there are a load of potential walls, but the theatre is off the table.

“The theatre has come up a number of times,” Caroline says.

“Since the graffiti, I’ve thought something needs to be done [with the theatre], but not for this project because of the cost and scale of it.

Graffiti street art has a number of benefits, she says.

“Street Art tends to increase foot traffic to the area with passers-by stopping to look or take a selfie with the artwork,” she says.

Festivals and art shows have sprung up around the amazing examples of street art. Photo: watchthisspace.org.nz

“Higher foot traffic can translate into higher values in leases for landlords.

“Pubic artwork also builds a sense of culture and community, it attracts social media users to share photos, thereby increasing online engagement with your business.

“There’s space for community stuff, but that’s not what we’re looking to do.”

“There is huge support for this in our community and we cannot do it without landlords willing to offer up their walls.”

Artists from across the country travel to paint their huge art pieces. Photo: watchthisspace.org.nz

The BBA are putting a call out to building owners or tenants of CBD buildings that could do with some creative attention.

Contact the BBA if you have a wall.

“If we get one or two walls done, people will see the value in it,” Caroline says.