WHEN over 100 graffiti artists converged on a Hull estate recently and started painting murals on 22 houses, local residents were intrigued rather than shocked.
The artists were in the neighbourhood to take part in a competition – a so-called ‘graffiti jam’ – put on by Hull council and the city’s Bankside Gallery back in April.
The ‘blank canvas’ for their artworks were 22 empty houses on the Preston Road estate.
These properties are scheduled for demolition to make way for newbuild homes, as part of the council’s citywide housing regeneration programme.
Many local people turned out to watch the artists at work and enjoy the show. The ‘jam’, which built on the success of a smaller event held in the summer last year, also drew visitors from across the city and beyond.
“The graffiti artists have transformed the area into a vibrant and colourful community art gallery, which local people are proud to have in their area,” said Dave Richmond, the council’s assistant director for neighbourhoods and housing.
Empty homes scheduled for demolition have previously proved a “magnet for trouble”, the council says, but the artful decorations have served to guard against it, research has suggested.
A study by Humberside Fire & Rescue Service has found a huge decline in anti-social behaviour and arson in the area, with young people taking pride in this unique art gallery on their doorstep.
“The artwork was always going to be temporary, yet the way that local people young and old took to it surpasses expectations,” Richmond added.
“We were aware of fewer call outs for anti-social behaviour in the area since last summer’s ‘jam’, however we were amazed and delighted when Humberside Fire & Rescue Service reported that arson ASB had gone down by 41% in the Martfleet ward, with the graffiti being a contributing factor.”
Catch a video of the ‘jam’…
Images courtesy of Hull City Council