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About the Project

Artists and writers producing work in the streets – including tags, graffiti, murals, stickers, and other installations on walls, pavement, and signs – are in a unique position to respond quickly and effectively in a moment of crisis. Street art’s ephemeral nature serves to reveal very immediate and sometimes fleeting responses, often in a manner that can be raw and direct. At the same time, in the context of a crisis, street art also has the potential to transform urban space and foster a sustained political dialogue, reaching a wide audience and making change possible. 

The Urban Art Mapping research team documents and analyzes everything from small stickers and quickly written graffiti to large, commissioned murals. Street art is usually very ephemeral—sometimes graffiti is removed in just a matter of hours. At the same time, some works come to be seen as “iconic” and will be protected and preserved in the streets, while some works of art and painted on plywood that is being removed, stored, and in the future exhibited in different contexts. All of these forms of art are important as nuanced expressions of this very complex and moment in history. Urban Art Mapping seeks to document all of these voices over the course of time and on a global scale. 

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