Mural in Neil St, Toowoomba painted by acclaimed graffiti artist Adnate.
Mural in Neil St, Toowoomba painted by acclaimed graffiti artist Adnate. File

How Ipswich can turn 'graffiti' into cash

ART washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

They're the words of famed artist Pablo Picasso, spoken during the 20th century, and those same words are repeated now by Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio who has watched his city transform.

The garden city a top the range has grown from a country town to a city where walls and laneways are covered in graffiti-style public art, and it's attracting tourists.

The First Coat Initiative was introduced by the Toowoomba council in 2014 and tagging has become noticeably less common since.

"There's a real sense of pride in the community around our street art now," Mayor Antonio said.

"It has manifested as support for the street art and in turn made it a big part of the city's culture.

"I drive around and I am not personally seeing as much of the unpleasant stuff around on the walls. Instead there's an ownership coming out in this community, a desire to protect our street art."

That's the kind of community ownership Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale wants to achieve and he's prepared to take a page out of Toowoomba's book to get it.

Ipswich already has public art programs in place but Cr Pisasale is keen to push that forward and plans to investigate a possible partnership between Toowoomba, Ipswich and Logan to elevate public art, perhaps creating a tourist graffiti art trail.

"I'm very interested in finding out more about what Toowoomba has been doing and applying that some of that here," Cr Pisasale said.



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