Councils plan to boost City of Culture bid by banking on graffiti

The seagull created by Banksy in Lowestoft. 

Banksy's murals have raised the profile of the region - Credit: Jasper King

The Great Yarmouth and East Suffolk bid for City of Culture 2025 hopes to build upon Banksy’s Spraycation legacy by commissioning new pieces of street art. 

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has commissioned artwork by two professional street artists in locations around the town and nearby Gorleston. They hope this will create an art trail that includes the four Bansky murals. 

Yare Gallery also plans to host an exhibition of people's photos of the Bansky murals as an homage to the artist. 

In Lowestoft, plans have been made for a new project that aims to bring street artists together with local communities in order to create more street art around the town. 

The 303 Project art gallery will also be hosting a series of talks this weekend (September 11-12) to discuss what the artworks men to the community. 

Last month, Bansky's Staycation murals garnered national and international interest, and has helped to put the region on the map ahead of their bid for City of Culture 2025. There has since been a huge number of visitors to the region who are eager to see the artwork

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Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Cllr Carl Smith said: “The appearance of the Banksy artworks on our streets has been an extremely exciting occurrence, creating a whirlwind of interest and drawing visitors from far and wide.

"We hope this will act as a catalyst to encourage others, and particularly our young people, to get involved in some form of artistic or cultural activity themselves.

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"It has delighted us that this has happened as we join the race to become the UK City of Culture 2025 jointly with East Suffolk Council, and we’d like to think that maybe Banksy himself is signalling an approval of our bid.”

With the artist’s work selling for seven-figure sums, the council have taken action to protect the murals, and have had to put up protective covers after some of the murals were defaced.

The Banksy artworks have already had an impact on property value in Lowestoft, and one empty town centre store has seen its value increase by £200,000. 

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