New Mural for Lukes Lane

16 July 2012

The colourful history of Lukes Lane will now leap out at passers-by, thanks to a new 24m-high and 9m-wide mural.

The Lukes Lane mural reflects the history of the area

The Lukes Lane mural reflects the history of the area

Sixteen artists teamed up to paint the mural during the first week of the July school holidays - seven experienced street artists from the Pie Rats collective and nine artistic young people from the Boys' and Girls' Institute (BGI).

The Lukes Lane mural is the 13th and largest in Wellington to be supported by the Ministry of Justice, and facilitated by the Council, since July 2011. The Ministry gave $55,000 for all 13. This mural is part of our longer-term plan to upgrade areas such as Opera House and Lukes lanes, to make these streets safer and more vibrant.

Rod Baxter, a youth worker from BGI, is the project's coordinator and has been fostering relationships between the artists and young people since work began three months ago.

"The street artists involved have been mentors to the young people. Their work can be seen in many of Wellington's urban spaces - the Pie Rats collective is a diversely talented and hardworking group of artists," he says.

"Most of the young people go to Wellington High School, while some of them are in alternative education. They're interested in street art and doing it legally. Being part of such a large project like this means a lot to them; it strengthens their mana."

The mural was funded by the Ministry of Justice STOP campaign that aims to reduce tagging and graffiti, through working with young people on street art projects. It also fits with our priorities to increase participation in arts activities and professional opportunities for local artists and to make the central city more dynamic.

Using urban murals to replace graffiti-vandalised walls works well when the murals reflect the local community. There is also some evidence to suggest that if taggers respect the artwork, they will leave it alone.

Rod says the project is a chance for young people involved to be clear about where they belong in the city and its history. It's also a chance for them to show their talents and skills, and make some positive decisions - to give something back rather than being destructive through vandalism.

The Council's Arts and Culture Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, says Lukes Lane is a fitting site to paint such an epic mural.

"Lukes Lane has such a large and colourful history. The site was once a part of Te Aro Pa, then became an icon of Wellington's ship building industry - when Captain Lukes established an iron and brass foundry there.

"It's so great to see that dominant theme of the sea running through the art in the mural."

If you find graffiti on your own property the best thing to do is remove it within 24 hours. Rapidly removing graffiti reduces the recognition taggers desire, shows them the area is being looked after, and it's easier to remove.

Remember that taggers are persistent so you may need to deal with graffiti more than once. However if you remove it rapidly every time it appears, they are more likely to leave your place alone.

To report graffiti that's on Council property, or if you need help with removing graffiti, phone us on (04) 499 4444.