Street Artz Fest

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Live2U – Media & Production Services and the Conservatorium Mid North Coast in conjunction with local youth present Street Artz Fest … this innovative festival will combine urban visual arts, live music and street performers, appealing to young people and family groups!  

Mella Miante, from Live 2U: 

Hi Mella. What is the Street Artz Fest, and when is it taking place?

Street Artz Fest is going to be an exciting, uniquely different, all ages drug and alcohol-free event held on Saturday 13th April at 11am, as part of Youth Week celebrations. It’s all happening at the Conservatorium MNC (The Con) and Girl Guides Halls on Hollingworth Street, Port Macquarie, and the entry cost during the daytime is only “a gold coin”. This innovative festival will showcase a variety of Street Art, such as spray paint and stencil graffiti, street installations and sculptures, plus live music, dance, market stalls, art and craft, local youth services, fun workshops and a stack of other activities. 

We hear the committee is made up of younger people, which is great; how have you put this concept together, and what are the aims of the event?

I was inspired by how Townsville have embraced Street Art on a recent visit; in addition, our teenage son is an aspiring graffiti artist, plus I am passionate about live music and I am the Event Manager for “The Con” – so combine all these elements, and Street Artz Fest was born!  

We also wanted to ensure this event reflects what local young people want, so we established a committee incorporating youth to be a part of planning/organisation, who are known as our Street Artz Fest Crew! Our youngest member is Tianah Mckinnon, aged 11 years, then we have around 15 other members ranging up to age 26 – plus the addition of a few more mature members to guide the group.  

We thought this event could also provide work experience opportunities for young people, so we reached out.  We have two members who are studying Events Management at TAFE, and one of our chief organisers/PR rep Joey is keenly pursuing a career as a Youth Counsellor.  It’s rewarding and mutually beneficial to help support them with their study/career goals.

Our crew meet regularly (weekly at present) and everyone contributes to the festival operations, from planning to distributing flyers. We have a Facebook group, and we communicate a lot via this forum. The crew is a bit like a fraternity, where we encourage all members to participate every year and as the festival continues to grow, we hope they will nominate new members to join and/or take over from them.

It sounds like a lot of fun! What type of activities do you have planned during the daytime?

It’s a really hands on art and culture festival, and it should be a blast! First up, before the festival officially begins, Street Artz Fest will embrace the process behind the spray cans and stencils, providing a safe workshop environment for young artists to learn and/or perfect their art under the guidance of professional artist Damon Moroney from Iknograffix. Young artists will produce their own Street Art before the festival starts, and their work will be on exhibit during the day (pre-booking required to participate). 

At 11am, the festival kicks off – and tiny-tots won’t miss out either, with a safe spray art fun activity and artist competitions. Other exciting daytime activities for everyone include: Drumming Workshops, UV Body Paint/Glitter Station, Tie Dye Art Workshop, Circus Skills Workshops, Dance Showcase by Movement Studios, Mini Makers Markets, Music Mixing Demo, Lip Sync/Rap Battle competition, Raffles, a variety of retail market stalls and live music provided by local duos Dubbele, and On the House, Jamie and Pablo, plus some electronic beats by Holotropik and a few local buskers. It’s going to be pretty full on entertainment between 11am and 5pm!

Tell us about the Evening Dance Party?

At 6pm, our Neon Dance Party kicks off, featuring live music by local Hip Hop group manicSoul and electronic dance music by Holotropik. We will also have a black light set up and UV body painting available, which will provide an extra visual extravaganza! Movement Studios will have a dance troupe performing, and we also have some local Poi Dancers lighting up the stage with their LED lights. The night time event is open to all ages; however, under 13s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Tickets are $10pp and numbers are limited, so booking is recommended. 

Mella, why is it important to give our youth opportunities to express themselves in the community through art – and how do you see this event growing?

Damon and I both share similar views on this; we feel it is important to offer young street artists and safe “legal” space for artistic expression. Just to be clear, the Street Art/Graffiti we represent is MURAL ART; it is NOT tagging! We see this type of modern Mural Art as a wonderful way to transform and beautify ugly empty spaces into vibrant decorative art and deter vandalism. 

Earlier I spoke of visiting Townsville, where I was impressed by the amount of Street Art used to vibrantly dress the otherwise bland urban walls in their city centre. To quote their Council, “The Street Art movement in Townsville provides local artists with exciting professional development and career opportunities and adds value to Townsville’s arts and culture product. Economically, Street Art helps to activate the CBD, encourage cultural tourism, and strengthen the city’s arts sector.”  

I would like to see our Council consider a similar framework/approach here to our local art and culture, and in relation to our festival, we hope Street Artz Fest will grow each year and attract graffiti artists and musicians from all over the globe!

Do you have any supporters or sponsors to acknowledge?

Firstly, I’d like to thank The Conservatorium MNC for believing in this initiative and backing it and the ongoing efforts of the Street Artz Fest crew! Other sponsors include Hastings Council, Live2U, RS Media Consulting, Iknograffix, YPSpace MNC, Constable Printing, Holotropik, Holden Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie Girl Guides, Kids Port Macquarie, InnerVision, 95 Store, Harvey Norman, Coastal Hire, headspace Port Macquarie and friends of the Conservatorium MNC. 

Where can we find out more?

For more info and tickets, visitwww.live2u.com.au/streetartzfest

Facebook Events www.facebook.com/events/216932602560886/

Thanks Mella.

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