City of Sydney councillors have recommended a change to its Local Government Environment Plan to cut red tape for private street art commissions.
Three years in the making, the proposed amendment seeks to remove a tangled barrier of council paperwork for property owners when commissioning any large-scale murals visible to the public.
The idea is to draw a line in the sand in the debate of art versus graffiti for Sydney –balancing enjoyment of city streets for everyone with the need for more cultural expression and diversity, and property owners’ right to decide what can be splashed across their exterior walls.
But changes won’t extend to free rein on city walls – caveats include no advertising, nothing discriminatory or sexually degrading, and no intellectual property infringements. The amendment has been submitted to the Greater Sydney Commission for a final determination, which City of Sydney councillor Jess Scully told ABC Radio Sydney is "very likely" to be approved.
Matt Branagan, director of Work-Shop on Cleveland Street, says “the more colour on the streets the better.” Work-Shop’s exterior has featured towering paint-ups by renowned local and international street artists, including a recent piece by Austrian-born, US based Nychos.
While Branagan admits he’s usually sidestepped development applications, he is happy to see the City of Sydney change lanes when it comes to street art. “This will mean more opportunities for artists to create long-lasting magic,” he says. “More walls, more jobs for artists, more appreciation of this art form that gets stigmatised so much.”