A mini ‘Cans Festival’ here in Eau Claire?

V1 Staff

This is not local art.
This is not local art. This is from England.

We were recently reminded about 2008’s “The Cans Festival” – a three-day street party of stencil art and graffiti. In case you hadn’t heard about it, reclusive international street artist superstar Banksy (awesome business card) invited 39 street artists from around the world to take part in an urban art festival held from May 3-5, 2008. The festival was held in an old tunnel formerly used by taxis – the “Waterloo terminal” in London.

Not local, as well.
Also not local.

Huge art installations included smashed up cars, a security camera-laden tree, an ice cream van, a cut-out of the Queen, and statues, as well as artwork on the walls. All sorts of amazing stuff. The public was invited to add to the exhibition with their own stenciling. The installations were removed after the festival, but the graffiti remained. Check out some great pictures.

Now, we won’t suggest that something so huge could happen here in the Chippewa Valley, but maybe some parts of The Cans Festival could be ripped off and repurposed for something local.

I can’t think of a local equivalent to the “Waterloo terminal” – a run-down public area/facility the city would be willing to loan out for such a purpose, allowing local artists to have their way with a public area (and having a festival no less) would certainly be cool. On the city’s side of things, it could possibly draw favorable attention to an imminent public works project.

Not long for this earth.
Not long for this earth.

For example, the City of Eau Claire will be ripping up downtown's South Barstow Street late next year or sometime in 2012. What if, in the days leading up to demolition, artists where allowed to stage art installations and use the street as a huge graffiti/mural surface. Then, right before the the whole street gets torn apart, a festival is held to showcase the (temporary) work. It could be a really cool little festival and a great way to steer the public’s eye towards an important city project – not to mention all the downtown shops that will soon be losing street access/business.

On a smaller level, a property owner that’s about to gut some property or redo a building could hold a similar event inside the space and end up with a bunch of attention. Maybe.

Just some thoughts.


Here's a Cans Festival video: