Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Living Walls partners with Google to preserve street art

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 3:35 PM

New Orleans artist MOMO completed the Boulevard Tunnel for Living Walls Concepts 2014.
  • Courtesy Google Cultural Institute's Street Art Project
  • New Orleans artist MOMO completed the Boulevard Tunnel for Living Walls' Concepts 2014.

After five years spent cementing a growing reputation as a street art organization, Living Walls is going global via Google.

The Atlanta street art nonprofit joins 30 29 other partners spread throughout the world in the inaugural launch of the online Street Art Project by the Paris-based Google Cultural Institute.

While online sharing of such images is nothing new, Google's official foray into the preservation of street art may be the most mainstream legitimization of an art form still viewed contentiously by some. While adding another wrinkle onto the public art vs. street art debate, Google intends to cover its bases by only showcasing images owned by the actual organizations, according to the Economic Times:

Google is taking pains to avoid offense by setting strict conditions. It will include only images provided by organizations that sign a contract attesting that they own the rights to them. It will not cull through [Google] Street View images but will provide the technology to organizations that want to use it to record street art legally. Some groups have provided exact locations of the artworks; others have not.

Google also won't include works from organizations attempting to sell their artwork or photos of such street art. But the project provides a way to permanently document and display works with otherwise indefinite lifespans.

The Street Art Project, which launches today, currently showcases photographed works from 30 international organizations based in Columbia, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, the Phillippines, Portugal, France, Chile, Italy, Belgium, et al. Other stateside street art organizations with works included in the rollout are based in New York and Dallas.

In a press release, Living Walls Co-Founder and Executive Director Mónica Campana expressed excitement over the collaboration with Google: "We believe in educating, promoting and changing perspectives about our public spaces via street art," she says. "We believe in the conversation that street art produces in different communities. We believe that art can connect and inspire communities to create better cities. Our partnership with Google will help further our mission by allowing many different audiences to engage with public spaces around the world."

The online street art exhibit will be in good company. The Google Cultural Institute also extensive documentation of historical projects, such as the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and photographic tours of wonders of the world (Taj Mahal, Versailles, Stonehenge).

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