An outdoor gallery of street art that’s not only approved by the local authority but also celebrated by residents throughout the city, Bankside Gallery began in February 2018, just after Banksy had painted his awesome piece on Scott Street Bridge. With people from near and far visiting the industrial area to view this cultural asset, a collective of local street artists decided that a lot more could be done.
“We all agreed that there are great artists in Hull who just don’t get anywhere near the same sort of attention or focus,” says the team behind Bankside Gallery. “So we seized the opportunity and wanted to give local artists the same sort of opportunities to get their work seen, by securing legal walls for them to paint on.”
Since then, hundreds of imaginative individuals have added their unique styles to these council-approved locations, including many high-quality artists the likes of DFC and Pinky. And it’s not just local creators, as the site has attracted street artists from across the UK, with not a single week going by without someone travelling to the area purely to paint.
“We have a strong international contingent too,” the team tells us. “There are artists who are from Hungary, Italy, Chile, and many other countries, which really enhances the global vibe of the work on display.”
This project soon expanded to Preston Road, where numerous derelict houses have been used as canvases for all kinds of brilliant ideas: “How often do you hear of artists having free rein over a whole housing estate, painting entire properties with the support of the council and emergency services? There’s nowhere quite like it in the whole country!”
Bankside Gallery is playing an enormous role in showing the public that street art can bring together communities: “We think it’s opened people’s eyes. Once dark, rundown parts of Hull are now teeming with life, inviting everyone to come down and enjoy a free attraction. It’s allowed people to see the positive benefits that graffiti can have if done properly. People look at it a lot more favourably now, including the authorities.”
The work on Preston Road has even had a positive impact on driving down antisocial behaviour and crime around the derelict properties, with people from all walks of life taking pride in these enormous platforms for self-expression.
The project is very much still ongoing and the team is constantly securing new sites. An inspiring success story, Bankside Gallery has grown from one wall back in early 2018 to hundreds of surfaces, full houses and gable ends, which are swiftly increasing in number all around the city.
“We’re holding our next mass graffiti jam on Preston Road on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April,” adds the team. “We have a hundred artists coming to paint from all around the country. We also have ambitions to host a festival in the future, with locations dotted across Hull. Plus we’re looking to do some collaborative work with graffiti artists and communities in other cities and hopefully organise some events around that.”
The spirit of Bankside Gallery is contagious and it really is something that you must see up close if you haven’t already. You can also follow the team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved in some epic street art activity.