European City of Culture 2016
Wroclaw, south west Poland is bidding for European City of Culture status in 2016. From my visit in late 2010 I see that it has numerous changes to make to stand any real chance. There is a magnificent opera house in the centre, fabulous historic buildings and traditional Polish market square lined with pavement cafes but where are is all the evidence of culture? At the moment visitors get the distinct impression of a run down and shabby city. Even the graffiti wouldn't be that bad if it made people stand and admire creativity rather than the poor quality scrawls that currently mar shops and streets.
I would like to see some street culture; for art to grow from grass roots and young people to be inspired to get together and give the city a new face.
There is a picture on the side of a building in Wroclaw that has something to say. It shows a young woman resembling the statue of Liberty and swallowing a key. Inside the woman is a multitude of padlocks. At a nearby Valentine's bridge, young engaged couples attach padlocks inscribed with their names or initials to the rails of the bridge.
More murals like this could turn Wroclaw round and help the people to interact with their city in a meaningful way. Let culture take to the streets. Think of what could be achieved with different types of murals and individual art work. The walls of the city could become a living art gallery. Now that would bring the visitors to Wroclaw in droves.
Why not create a new art group in Wroclaw to harness the talents of those who obviously so want their names to be known and plan a renaissance for Wroclaw. Queens in New York has a Graffiti Museum, Wroclaw could be a living and interactive art gallery.
There are already good sculptures dotted around the city. How about an art trail and guide to view different types of art in Wroclaw? Now that would be exciting. Tourism creates new jobs and brings new money into a city, don't let graffiti in Wroclaw ruin its chances of being the European City of Culture 2016 and improving the infrastructure and facilities for residents and visitors.
- Read about graffiti and tourism - how one affects the other.