Street art event will return to Bristol with light show
A SPECTACULAR light show with music is being organised as part of this year's See No Evil street art event.
The free show, with projected lights into the night sky, will probably be staged next to Temple Meads railway station.
It is understood that musicians Adrian Utley from Portishead and Will Gregory from Goldfrapp will be involved with the music.
The show is being called Mail, Maps and Motion and is inspired by WH Auden's poem, Night Mail, which was used in a celebrated 1936 film documentary, with music by Benjamin Britten.
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It will be held on Friday, August 18, the eve of the See No Evil street art weekend in Nelson Street.
The city centre road was used last year as the venue for a successful street art project which saw giant graffiti murals turn dowdy city centre buildings into a free international tourist attraction.
But this year, organisers are planning a much bigger event after securing £300,000 funding, part of which they will use to attract the best street artists from all over the world.
The funding has come from the Arts Council and the Cultural Olympiad, a summer-long arts festival throughout the country to celebrate the Olympic Games in London.
Mike Bennett, organiser of the See No Evil street art project, said the funding would help to create a much bigger event than last year.
He said: "There will be nothing to compare with it in terms of size and scale – it's unique."
A steering group has been set up to decide a theme for the event, which will see some of the existing murals in Nelson Street painted over.
Street artists will be invited to create their works of art, which will have to be agreed by the property owners before they can go ahead.
The city council is backing the event because civic leaders know that tourism can help the local economy.
Traders, shopkeepers, hotels, restaurants and taxis all benefit from an influx of visitors for major events.
Cabinet councillor Guy Poultney, who is in charge of arts festivals in the city, said: "Last year's event exceeded my most optimistic hopes – it was really amazing. The sheer range of people and their art, talent and energy really shone through.
"The event has really cemented Bristol's international reputation as a creative, forward-looking and innovative city.
"This is incredibly important when we are trying to attract tourists and new investment.
"We are hoping that this year's event will develop that reputation on an international scale."
The organisers had originally thought of moving the See No Evil project to a site near Temple Meads.
But this idea fell through because of access problems and other issues.
The street art project in Nelson Street will run from Monday, August 13 until Sunday, August 19, with street parties on the Saturday and Sunday.
Street art projects have recently come under fire by critics who accuse them of attracting only hoodie-type teenagers. But Mr Poultney said more than half the visitors to See No Evil last year were over 40 years of age.
The event attracted worldwide media coverage and nearly two-thirds of the visitors said it was their main reason for taking a trip to the city.
Mr Bennett said one of the top three priorities for people or firms looking to relocate is the culture that a city can offer.
"It's just as important as housing or schools," he said.
One of the spin-offs of the See No Evil project has been to link The Centre and Harbourside with Cabot Circus and Broadmead. The number of pedestrians who now use Nelson Street has increased dramatically.