Poland has a long, lauded tradition of graphic art (check out Wrocław’s Polish Poster Gallery if you want proof), but when it comes to public street graffiti, too often it steers closer to ‘vandalism,’ rarely graduating beyond slurs, gang signs and football allegiances. Thanks to a strong underground art community, however, Wrocław has generally been an exception, and visitors will encounter plenty of urban space that has been elaborately decorated with street art that strives to be just that: art. In fact, thanks to its own initiative of embracing rather than rejecting the trend, Wrocław has made itself a veritable destination for large scale street art. Today the city is decorated with dozens of highly visible murals in public space, and with that number growing all the time, urban art has emerged as a legitimate attraction in the city.
Formerly a strictly underground art form, things started to change in 2008 when the curators of the city’s vanguard Galeria Awangarda organised Poland’s first street art exhibition by inviting 20 of Europe’s biggest names in urban art to do installations throughout Wrocław. While half the exhibition – dubbed ‘Out of Sth’ – took place within the conventional, accepted art space of the city centre gallery, the other half took to the streets creating murals and large-scale art pieces within the urban landscape. A year later cult culture hangout Niskie Łąki helped organise the first Pink Piknik Festival, filling the entire courtyard between ul. Ruska and ul. Św. Antoniego with colourful art. Further editions of Out of Sth followed in 2010 and 2012, and with Wrocław University and the city itself (as part of its European Capital of Culture 2016 programme) also contributing commissions, Wrocław has strongly secured its status as Poland’s street art capital.
Those with an interest in street art will have no problem tracking down some of the city’s finest examples and we’re making it even easier. In the maps of our print guide you'll find many of Wrocław's most visible murals marked with spray paint can icon so you can literally use them to give yourself a self-guided tour of the city’s mural art. For more pointers, the BWA (administrators of Galeria Awangarda) also has a map of all the murals created during the Out of Sth festival on their website: www.bwa.wroc.pl