The grey city walls set to be transformed into vibrant works by Nuart artists this summer have been unveiled by Aberdeen Inspired.
These “blank canvases” in the heart of the city will become eye-catching treasures, adding to the existing pieces created by the hugely popular street art festival, said Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired.
He said: “We will have some fantastic world-class artists descending upon our city, incrementally, and bringing with them the wonderful talents that will endorse and support what we already have now in terms of legacy.”
Walls to be painted include two at the Unite Students building in Spring Gardens, then one each at the Aberdeen Community Health and Care Village on Frederick Street; Union Square’s Guild Square frontage and The Meridian on Union Row.
In photos: the Nuart walls
Photo 1: Union Square at Guild Square. Photo 2: Aberdeen Community Health and Care Village, Frederick Street. Photo 3: The Meridian, Union Row. Photos 4 and 5: Unite Students, Spring Gardens.
Which artists will be painting on which walls has yet to be announced – and Adrian said there will be news about other projects around Nuart to “delight and surprise” the people of Aberdeen.
Adrian said he was excited at the prospect of Nuart returning in June after the festival was postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“(Nuart) really captured the imagination of all age groups and folk really embraced it. If the past iterations are anything to go by, it has been a real success, a real fillip for the north-east. With the current context, with the pandemic and all that goes with it, it is fantastic we are able to bring Nuart back in some shape or form this year.”
But it will be a different form, with the festival taking place over a six-week period rather than the usual week-long hive of activity as parts of the city morph into works of art. There won’t be launch events, mass gatherings or street tours around it, as organisers follow coronavirus guidelines.
The approach to Nuart will be “fluid” said Adrian, with even the start date in June, involving already confirmed artist Helen Bur, still to be set.
“She will come and do her piece, then in the coming weeks artists will arrive individually, do their works of art then leave,” he said.
World-class street artists coming to Aberdeen
“By the end of the summer – and it is very fluid as it is all about safety and what we are allowed to do – we will have built up Nuart 2021. It builds on the work that is already there to bring people in to view the new works, complemented by the existing ones.”
While Adrian is delighted Nuart is returning, mounting the festival was hard work in the face of the pandemic and uncertainties which besets all walks of life at the moment.
“The complexity came for us because normally we pull folk in from the four corners of this globe, the very best, to do their pieces, they fly in and fly out,” said Adrian.
“Whereas this year we will probably be more reliant on the domestic market. There are some wonderful world-class street artists across the UK and there will be a focus on them coming up to Aberdeen.
“But we will watch very closely the same news bulletins everyone else does, to make sure it’s safe and right to do it. We will take it a step at a time, but if things ease later, we might be able to push the boat out a bit more and celebrate what I’m sure will be the wonderful additions to our city.”
Exciting new walls coming to the fore
He added that the newly-announced walls for Nuart 2021 were carefully selected.
Adrian said: “We have tried to be strategic with it and get a spread across the city centre as best we possibly can, taking cognisance of what we have already. We want to keep people moving about the city centre safely, taking in the legacy pieces as well as these exciting new walls that have come to the fore.”
Adrian firmly believes the arrival of the festival next month is of huge significance to the city and beyond.
“We have heard so many times up and down the country and beyond about the hope and anticipation we will be able to do large scale festivals – well here’s one we will be able to do,” he said. “The fact that it’s outside in a public arena makes it that bit easier in terms of the health and safety element, so we are really excited.
“Nuart Aberdeen coming back is for us a big signpost that perhaps things are moving forward. We hope it shows the city is reawakening and so many people will enjoy this experience… and some fantastic culture in Scotland’s premier city.”
To find out more visitaberdeeninspired.com/festival/nuart-aberdeen