The street art scene in the last three years since I visited has undergone some changes. It looks like many of the seasoned writers and mixed media artists have vacated the main CBD laneways.
With the exception of two tribute murals to the late great Malcolm Young, I had trouble finding new works in the way of stencils, pasteups or any of the usual, quirky writers and artists.
There were reports in the media last year, of Mayor Doyle attempting to move on the homeless people from the laneways as they are a tourist attraction, and apparently we are offended by the presence of homeless people. I think we tourists know full well there is no art without the participation of the artists, including those who are homeless.
As for the state of the laneways, it’s easy enough to run a street sweeper/cleaner through every day, to get rid of the overwhelming stench of urine and worse. Union Lane was particularly bad this year, but still looked beautiful.
AC/DC Lane had more of the paste ups and stencils but the Swoon artwork has been painted over, and many of the works looked old. Something is discouraging new and established artists from participating. Is it a protest over the council policies or something else?
On the subject of homelessness, in the past we’ve seen some people sleeping rough in the daytime on the streets, but nowhere near the number of people we came across this year. According to reports, charity services to people in need have been overwhelmed and fewer of the general public are donating either cash or goods.
I don’t carry cash anymore except for parking meters, and this is the difference between going hungry and a meal to many people.
Edit. A footnote to this post, well known priest and humanitarian, Father Bob Maguire, runs a Foundation in Melbourne’s Albert Park. If you would like to support his vision to end homelessness and disadvantage, please read more at FatherBobs.com