Street art has been working its way into classrooms across the country over the last couple of years, proving to be an excellent forum for discussing ideas and creativity in a language that is relaxed and relatable for young minds.
Street Art Making Its Mark
“MENTION the name Banksy to anyone who knows anything about art and there’s instant recognition. It’s an indication of the broad acceptance these days of street art, and something that Diamond Valley College teacher Selina Braine has enjoyed imparting on her Year 9 art class. “I moved here from Brisbane seven years ago and … I lived in the city for a couple of years in an apartment, so street art was everywhere. So yeah, I’m a huge street art fan.” she says.
Many people confuse graffiti tagging with street art. According to www.graffitiactionhero.org: “Street art is constructive, graffiti tagging is destructive, street art adorns the urban landscape, graffiti tagging scars it and accelerates urban decay, street art is about the audience, graffiti tagging is about the tagger.” Braine says the people who create street art pieces are just as skilled as any other artist. “It can be a form of social activism or self-expression that, as it’s in the street, takes on a different form and is accessible to the public, which not every artwork can be. “We can access it for free, and … it’s in our urban landscape and I think that’s really beautiful.”
This term, 23 students from Braine’s class spent a day exploring Melbourne’s inner city alleyways, guided by Zoe Rinkel of Urban Scrawl — a company that provides walking tours of street art, architecture, and sculpture in Melbourne’s heart. Braine says the inner city is a world away from her school’s outer north-east world and she used the trip to build on her students’ visual literacy. “The kids that live out here don’t often go to the city, because it’s an hour away, so I was really trying to get them, not just to look at street art but even architecture that’s around, … [anything] that can build up their aesthetic awareness.” Inspired by work being done by other teachers in their school, Braine is keen for her young students’ street art talents to be channelled into positive local community events.”