Although, for the past years, it has been increasingly accepted by the general public and artists of other art movements, it is sometimes argued whether or not street art should be considered real art. I am of the opinion that it is equally as valuable and worth considering as other art forms.
Street art has been used not only to raise awareness of social and political issues but also to simply beautify public locations, and its artists have been progressively more recognized and valued in the art industry.
We can’t deny its impact on the surroundings — the people and even on the artists themselves. An example I have is in the city of Águeda, in Aveiro, Portugal. Besides many of its walls and buildings being covered in beautifully executed graffitis, every year from July to September, the streets are filled with colorful floating umbrellas (held up by string).
The Umbrella Sky Project, as it is called, was inspired by Mary Poppins and emerged in 2012, created by the firm Sextafeira. Its well-achieved goal is to bring more color to the city, make people smile and turn their days into something more colorful and happy through art. Although its main focus is obviously the floating umbrellas, the project has contributed to the embellishment of Águeda with other street art manifestations as graffitis, rainbow stairs and various paintings, sculptures and also music, as a festival called Agit’Águeda is held during the same time.
This year I visited Águeda in July, and I can confirm that it is as beautiful and mesmerizing as it looks like in pictures, if not more. However, it wasn’t only the visual part of it that captivated me, but it was also the realization of the importance and impact that street art can truly have — how it can completely transform any place, in this case, the city of Águeda. As mentioned before, one of the purposes of this project is to make people smile and have a better day through art, and this goal is continuously achieved each and every year. That’s what street art can do. It not only transformed this city into something much more beautiful than it would be if no art intervention was made, but it also made — and continues to make — an impact on people.
Projects like this unceasingly show us that we can always turn things into something better with art. We will always have art, we just have to create it. And why? Just imagine how Águeda would be like if nothing of what I wrote about had happened. It would be a normal city. But instead, it is a colorful, vibrant and unique city that makes all its visitors and habitants smile.
Similar things are seen all around the globe; many cities celebrate art and have amazing projects that do so, but it is never too much. Street art has an impact which must not be ignored.