Now approaching its fourth year, the Wall to Wall Festival has cemented itself as a world-class street art festival and has put Benalla on the map as a pioneering leader in street art.
Benalla has become the regional street art capital of the country, with a densely populated outdoor street art gallery of more than 60 iconic public artworks by Australia’s leading street artists, local emerging artists and renowned international artists.
The 2018 Festival, held on the Labour Day long weekend from March 9-12, promises to be the biggest yet with the introduction of a virtual reality component and branching out into two satellite sites, with the full line-up to be announced shortly.
Recent modelling shows that the 2017 festival not only put Benalla on the map, but also contributed strongly to the local economy. Taking both Festival and post-Festival economic impact into account, resulted in an estimated annual total expenditure of $4.527million by visitors coming specifically to Benalla to see the street art, equating to a total economic impact of $6.338million for the year.
This year’s festival will be even bigger than the last with two ‘‘satellite sites’’ selected, both featuring silo art by two world leading street artists. The towns are Goorambat and Devenish, both a short drive from Benalla.
Temporary, inflatable sculptures will also be dotted around the town by Australia’s most revered contemporary street artists, Anthony Lister.
Another exciting element at this year’s festival is a cutting edge virtual reality street art simulator at the main festival hub, giving viewers a unique first-person perspective of what it feels like to be a spray paint artist.
Professional Street Art Tour guide David Russell will again be on hand for those that want to get an insider’s look at how different street artists’ work has evolved and the different styles and approaches the individual artists take when creating works and establishing their careers.
Wall to Wall Festival artistic director Shaun Hossack said the collection of street art works in Benalla is second to none.
‘‘There isn’t another place in Australia that has so many high quality murals in such a small area,’’ he said.
‘‘Even Melbourne, one of the world’s foremost destinations for street art, doesn’t have this many murals in the one spot.’’
Wall to Wall Festival committee chair Roxanne Demasson said she is excited about the vibrancy, energy and colour the event brings to the town.
‘‘It is revitalising our arts scene and it is putting us on the map as an arts destination of the High Country,’’ she said.
‘‘The new committee, made up of young artists and business owners from Benalla, is bringing a fresh perspective on what this festival can be. It strengthens our local arts scene and creates pathways into the arts for young people across the region.’’
For more information visit www.walltowallfestival.com