2017 Events with Expenses Over $50,000 Award Winner

Wonderwalls - Renewal SA

Wonderwalls Street Art Festival 2017 was a free, three-day festival held in Port Adelaide from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 April 2017. Local, national and international artists transformed the Port into an open-air gallery where large-scale, painted murals came to life.

Thousands of visitors converged on the precinct to hear artist talks, participate in guided photographic tours, view exhibitions and demonstrations in the Flour Shed, and enjoy food and drink. The Port was a hive of activity, with crowds of people watching art happen, while navigating the festival precinct with a map in hand, or on the Wonderwalls smartphone app.

Key Partners Involved:

Port Adelaide Enfield Council (PAEC) was a key partner of Wonderwalls 2017, collaborating with Renewal SA (RSA) to expedite planning approvals and promote the festival. PAEC also helped to secure local, emerging street artists to experience in large scale street art and significant exposure, affording them a valuable professional development opportunity.

Wonderwalls 2017 sponsor partners:

  • Coates Hire, Taubmans Paints and Ironlak provided much-needed product;
  • Canon provided walking photographic tours, where participants captured the development of murals from sketch to completion;
  • Mismatch Brewing assisted with street parties and artists’ ‘Welcome’ event; and
  • Quest Apartments provided affordable accommodation for visiting artists.

Situation/Background:

Wonderwalls Street Art Festival was first held in Wollongong, NSW in 2013. RSA and PAEC reimagined the successful Festival for the Port, presenting Wonderwalls for the first time in January 2015.

Wonderwalls is the only street art festival in South Australia. There have been laneway projects previously held in the state for street artists, but the scale of artists and art seen during Wonderwalls is unsurpassed.

Wonderwalls provided opportunities for local and interstate street artists to gain public exposure and skills development from peers in their field. Local artists were provided hoarding walls to paint as part of Wonderwalls, several artists collaborated to produce amazing murals.

Wonderwalls 2017 is one of the flagship placemaking initiatives held in Port Adelaide. As part of the Port Adelaide Placemaking Strategy, these initiatives are helping to achieve RSA’s vision of more people living, working and playing in the Port.

Wonderwalls 2017 was a free, public initiative held over three days.

Launched with a VIP launch and street party; with another street party held on the Saturday night; the streets of Port Adelaide were filled with not only art, but also people, music, food and wine for the duration of the festival, but for days and weeks to follow, as the permanent art fixtures endured.

Objectives/Strategies:

Wonderwalls Street Art Festival supports the South Australian Government’s Seven Strategic Priorities by ‘Creating a vibrant city.’ The festival contributes to a vision for the future where South Australia is alive with people of all ages, enjoying public art, and is renowned for its festivals, cultural life and seriously cool street art.

The festival is a placemaking initiative for Port Adelaide, with a vision to:

  • increase foot traffic;
  • create stronger exposure;
  • enhance image and identity;
  • provide vibrancy and attention;
  • change the use of space / the behaviour pattern;
  • positive economic impact; and
  • build social capital / sense of community.

Implementation:

When Wonderwalls 2017 was announced in October 2016, many Port Adelaide residents and businesses volunteered their walls for inclusion in the festival. Walls were assessed for suitability of location, size, finish and heritage status. Through this process, 15 walls were selected, enabling the creation of 33 murals ranging from 2.4 metre hoardings to three storey buildings.

April was decided as the ideal time to hold Wonderwalls 2017, to avoid ‘mad March,’ and to maximise artist availability, attracting 24 artists from Australia and overseas – the strongest concentration of high-calibre street artists ever seen in South Australia.

Although mural sites were located throughout Port Adelaide, the primary ‘venue’ for festival activity was the Flour Shed: an historic building on the Port’s waterfront. The adjoining Mundy Street was closed to traffic, to allow for a great street party atmosphere throughout the festival with seating, food vans, a DJ and pop-up bar.

Inside the Flour Shed, there was an art exhibition with some of the artwork available for sale, local artists creating art using a bike and a remote control and numerous artist talks. The Flour Shed was also the starting point for the various photographic or guided walks.

The visitor experience was front-of-mind, and a Wonderwalls 2017 map was developed which included snapshots of the artists involved, the locations of murals, the program of activities taking place over the three days, and details of the Wonderwalls smartphone app. These maps were made available throughout the Port for the duration of the festival.

Wonderwalls 2017 was planned over six months, with required works being allocated to the following functional areas:

  • artistic direction;
  • festival management;
  • risk and people management;
  • marketing and communications; and
  • event support.

Wonderwalls 2017 artistic direction was provided by Joel van Moore. An internationally renowned, Adelaide-based street artist who paints under the pseudonym Vans the Omega, Joel also led the artistic direction of the first Wonderwalls Festival in the Port and has participated in similar festivals around the world. Joel was responsible for the identification and recruitment of high-profile artists to participate in Wonderwalls 2017.

Festival management, including volunteer recruitment, operations and organisation of all event logistics and approvals was undertaken by Renewal SA’s Place Manager: Port Adelaide. Risk, people and financial management was undertaken by Renewal SA’s Manager Place and Activation, whilst marketing and communications was undertaken by Renewal SA’s Marketing Team.

Wonderwalls 2017’s support crew comprised Renewal SA staff, who attended as volunteers, and volunteers from the community. Volunteers supported the running of Wonderwalls 2017 during the festival weekend, ‘bump in’ one week prior, the VIP Launch event, and for ‘bump out’ at the festival’s conclusion.

Results/Outcome:

Wonderwalls 2017 attracted the strongest concentration of high-calibre street artists ever seen in South Australia, and enabled the creation of 33 large-scale murals on buildings and walls around Port Adelaide.

During Wonderwalls 2017, more than 15,000 people came to Port Adelaide to see the street art being generated – a three-fold increase in visitor numbers from the festival held in 2015.

Visually, Port Adelaide was busy, with consistent crowds of visitors observing and interacting with art in the streets over the three days of Wonderwalls 2017.

Visitation to the Port Adelaide Enfield Council Visitor Information Centre during Wonderwalls 2017 increased 271% on Saturday and 384% on Sunday, from the prior weekend, representative of the significant influx of new visitors to the precinct.

One of Renewal SA’s objectives for Wonderwalls 2017 was ‘to maximise opportunities for local businesses to be involved in the festival providing positive economic benefits to the businesses.’

The following feedback from traders confirming a most satisfactory achievement of this goal:

"Wonderwalls weekend transformed St Vincent Street into a vibrant, busy street - full of foot traffic. The street had an amazing vibe and I was run off my feet in the store - it was fabulous!"      Corinne, Eve to Dawn Event Hire.

“On the Wonderwalls weekend the Saturday we had our busiest day ever since opening in Port Adelaide in 2013, and then on the Sunday we doubled that!” Stephanie Taylor, Red Lime Shack.