Street art has become common in many urban communities. It was often seen as a mark of rebellion, but increasingly it is regarded as a positive contribution to the community.
The aim of this activity is to encourage creativity, expression and communication through art, and to promote self-esteem and confidence by taking part in a positive community project.
Before starting this project, it is very important to have identified, and received permission to paint on, a suitable wall. The wall will be used as a platform for communication. Once it is painted, it will also contribute positively to the beauty of the community. If a wall cannot be found, then the first part of the project should be to build a wall together. Plywood or other sheets of wood will work well.
Some of the participants may never have tried painting before, or have never tried painting on a wall, so they will need support and guidance. It will be helpful if the facilitator has experience with wall painting. If not, arrange to consult with someone with experience or invite someone to co-facilitate. Although the focus of the workshop is on encouraging self- and group-expression, it can be a frustrating experience for participants who are unable to express themselves because they lack the basic skills in using paint and brushes or the spray cans. Participants may therefore need support from time to time.
It is difficult to create a piece of art in large groups of people. It is recommended to restrict the number of participants to a maximum of five.
1. Welcome the participants and introduce the aim of the project by saying:
“Today we will work together to create a unique piece of street art that will contribute positively to the community and give joy to our neighbours. We will first brainstorm what we want to create and make plans on how to do this. We need to work out what resources we need and who will do what. Then we will work together to create the street art.”
2. Ask the participants to brainstorm the street art they would like to create. Ask whether they know about any other pieces of street art in their community, and what they think would be appropriate and appreciated by community members.
3. List all the ideas on a flipchart or chalkboard.
4. Once participants have shared all their ideas, ask them to look at the list and agree on one project. Reflect on the positive and negative aspects of this project, discussing how it will contribute positively to the community.
5. Now discuss what is needed for this project. You can use the following questions to guide this discussion:
• What materials are needed?
• Who will take responsibility for accessing the materials?
• Who will do what in terms of the actual painting?
6. When you have finalised the plan, end the activity by saying:
“Art can have a positive impact on people, both as a way of enabling people to express themselves, and as a way of making the community beautiful. It brings value to a community and can be a source of pride, for both the artists and the community. We will work together in creating this street art and make a positive contribution to our community.”
Accompany the participants to the designated wall, and assist them wherever they need help. Make sure the materials they need are available. Take photos of the entire process.
Closure and final meeting
When the street art is complete, call a final meeting with participants to end the project and allow for reflection on the entire process.
1. Welcome the participants and ask them to sit in a circle.
2. Congratulate them on creating a beautiful piece of street art, and ask them to share how they have experienced this process.
3. Go round the group and give every participant the opportunity to share his or her reflections on the street wall art project. You can ask some of the following questions to guide the reflections:
• How has this project been for you?
• What have you found challenging?
• What have you liked the most?
• What did it feel like to create a piece of street art that is visible to the public?
• What have you learnt about yourself through this entire process?
• What could be done to improve this activity in the future?
4. End the meeting by thanking the participants for all their hard work and congratulating them again on their street art.