A globally acclaimed street art festival will make its long-awaited return to Aberdeen next month.
Organisers have revealed the festival, which brings thousands of people from across the north-east to the Granite City, will run throughout June and July.
Last year’s event was postponed due to Covid, but planners are confident they can keep the event safe this year while helping the city bounce back from lockdown.
Nuart Aberdeen 2021 will run throughout June and July with artists producing work supported by a local production team.
“The festival holds a special place in the hearts and minds of locals and visitors alike and we are excited to see it return to our city now that it is safe to do so.”
Adrian Watson, Aberdeen Inspired.
The first artist announced in the line-up is the UK’s Helen Bur, whose dual mural was on Greyfriars House at the Gallowgate until the building was demolished late last year.
Her work – which is in Germany, Spain, Norway and India, will fit this year’s theme of Memory and City.
Different approach to keep event Covid-safe
Unlike previous years, when all the street art is created within a week, the production period has been extended and the artists’ time in the city will be staggered.
By doing this, organisers hope the event can return safely and be Covid-secure, with plans in place to work with a streamlined team of local producers, partners and volunteers to facilitate the production.
Aberdeen Inspired, which is behind the festival, said everything will be done to keep those taking part, as well as the public, safe.
Elements that would attract large-scale gatherings, like the guided tours and public launch will not take place.
Instead, the emphasis will be on providing resources and information to allow members of the public to conduct their own self-guided tours.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Nuart Aberdeen has had a transformative impact on Aberdeen firmly placing the city as a must-visit destination for street art lovers from across the globe.
“The festival holds a special place in the hearts and minds of locals and visitors alike and we are excited to see it return to our city now that it is safe to do so.
“With the country now reopening, it’s important that we do everything we can to encourage people to come back and enjoy all that the city centre has to offer, safely.
Return of festival shows ‘glimmer of light’
“There is no better festival to mark the return to some form of normality that Nuart Aberdeen.
“Taking place outdoors the festival will give people the freedom to both watch as the new works of art are created and explore when they are completed.”
Nuart Aberdeen is curated and produced by the Stavanger-based arts organisation Nuart, spearheaded by curator and director Martyn Reed.
Mr Reed said: “We’re incredibly happy to announce we’ll be back on the streets of Aberdeen this summer with a series of projects we hope can give us all a lift by re-connecting us with those spaces and places that have become a part of us.
“We’re looking forward to reconnecting with all those that have made Nuart Aberdeen possible and can’t wait to get started.”
Aberdeen City Council has been key to the festival’s success and council co-leader Jenny Laing welcomed its return.
She added: “The news that the much-loved Nuart Aberdeen festival will return this summer, despite all the challenges, is incredibly exciting and should be warmly welcomed as it will provide people with another fantastic reason to visit the city centre, enjoy all of the artworks, old and new, and feel safe as they do so.
“As the city council continues to draw up transformational plans for the heart of our city, the continued delivery of Nuart Aberdeen will play an integral role in creating a vibrant city centre that residents and visitors alike can enjoy and by producing more powerful and vibrant artworks in our public space I am confident the festival will attract greater footfall and support the city’s wider economic recovery.”
Call for businesses to support festival
Mr Watson urged businesses around the city centre to take advantage of the increased footfall that the festival is expected to bring.
“Aberdeen Inspired has worked hard to support the city and its businesses over the period of the pandemic.
“The city has been challenged and the return of Nuart Aberdeen will provide a welcome boost to the local economy, help support local jobs and the creative community.
“We urge all businesses to support it and help make this summer-long festival of street art a huge success.”
Further announcements on artists, walls and opportunities for public engagement will be made in the coming weeks.