For the past few years, in the Australian town of Wollongong, a festival has been occurring. It happens in the region’s springtime, or more accurately, in early October, just as the weather is warming up from the winter months and just before the slightly rainier season starts to get underway. It’s the perfect time for this kind of festival, however, which relies on good weather and good times. Wonderwalls is a unique street art festival that happens every year on Wollongong. Focusing on a variety of artists from around the world, Wonderwalls is a festival that wants to help an already beautiful place be even more amazing, all while encouraging people to explore their artistic sides.
One of the most amazing things about Wonderwalls is the talent the festival has managed to attract in such a short amount of time. Where many festivals around the world have managed to curate considerable talent, many of them have the advantage of name recognition or simply a very popular location that attracts international artists. But Wollongong is not as famous as Baltimore, home of the Open Walls Festival, nor is it as populous as Mexico City, home of the All City Canvas festival. Yet, despite being located on the Southeast corner of Australia, the festival has attracted some of the biggest and most exciting artists working around the world today. Just last year, at the festival’s third outing, some of the artists who participated included Australia’s own Sofles, Amersterdam’s Amok Island, BMD, and Felipe Pantone.
The festival is marked by its openness to not only a variety of artists, but a large range of projects and ways that the public can participate. Of the hundreds of murals painted over the three-day festival, they ranged in scope from entire walls of large buildings to small little murals in other parts of the city. And people who want to participate in the fun can enjoy talks with the artists, held at a local cafe in the city’s CBD district, where much of the festival’s action takes place. Galleries have also gotten involved, and many people can look through galleries of finished work in between wandering the streets and seeing murals in the process of being created.
Wonderwalls was created, like many street art festivals, as a way to promote street art and murals, but also to help revitalize an area. Wollongong, known for its beautiful surroundings, has been in need of some beautification, especially in the popular CBD district. As the commercial heart of the city, it’s a perfect place for people to engage with street art on a regular basis, and the results of just three years of the Wonderwalls Festival can be seen throughout the area. As a way to brighten up the town, the Wonderwalls Festival has managed to create something truly unique and beautiful, in a surprisingly short amount of time.