New guidelines make applying for a permit for murals and street art easier

The City of Tampere has published new guidelines for street art. Permits for street art can now be applied for with an e-form. Students in the contemporary art course at Sara Hildén Academy collaborated with students from Sorin Sirkus, designing and creating an environmentally oriented artwork on the ramp of the Rongankatu underpass.
Visual artist Sebastian Schultz and visual art teacher Riikka Ajanki stand in front of an environmental mural painted by young students.
Visual artist Sebastian Schultz and teacher of visual arts Riikka Ajanki instructed the students of Sara Hildén Academy and Sorin Sirkus in their street art project.

The City of Tampere is promoting authorised street art projects in order to vitalise its public urban space. Street art includes various kinds of artwork such as murals and graffiti. New guidelines for the implementation of street art have been released, and permits for making street art can now be applied for with an electronic form. The new e-form is designed to make the application process easier for everyone involved.

Permits are only available for sites located in the streets, parks and other public areas that are administered by the City of Tampere. Practical matters, such as traffic safety and cleaning the work site after completion, must be taken into account in the implementation of artworks.

Young students from Sara Hildén Academy and Sorin Sirkus were enthusiastic about street art

In May 2023, students from Sara Hildén Academy and Sorin Sirkus collaborated to create a work of street art on the ramp of the Rongankatu underpass. The project was part of both the contemporary art course for the 10th year pupils at the Sara Hildén Academy and the multidisciplinary studies at Sorin Sirkus. A total of 40 young people, aged 13-17, collaborated in making the artwork.

The students were allowed to decide the topic of the artwork, with planning done both together and in separate groups.

– The students soon decided that they wanted to comment on the environmental crisis, says teacher of visual arts Riikka Ajanki. – They made drafts at a quick pace and planned the artwork very independently.

The artwork has a very direct message, presenting things as they are. Ajanki explains that the piece does not include any hope for the future, as the students did not have such ideas. The artwork, a mural tens of meters long, depicts the destruction of the environment in its various forms, from contaminated waters to polluting factories.

– The work has attracted a lot of interest in passers-by. Many have been delighted to see young people making street art. This has also been a great experience for the students. Making a large piece of art allows them to test their limits.

There is a demand for more street art projects in the future.

– Sara Hildén Academy had never done such a big street art project before. No suitable sites have been available. Such a large project also requires a highly qualified instructor.

Visual artist Sebastian Schultz instructed the students in their work. He helped them develop the topic of the piece and taught the technical side of making the artwork.

– It was great to watch young people create the mural so vigorously and quickly despite them not having done anything like it before, Schultz says.

In addition to teaching, Schultz has worked as an entrepreneur since 2020. He did his first commissioned work ten years ago. Although the new guidelines for street art are a positive change, Schultz also wishes for more practice sites for making street art.

– Street art isn't taught anywhere, Schultz notes. – But it will always be made, so having more sites for practicing would help the quality of street art to improve.

The street art work made by the students of Sara Hildén Academy is not permanent. The City of Tampere has decided to commission a permanent artwork that will replace it after about a year.

– The positive news is that we now have a portal for making permit applications for street art, Schultz adds. – Until now, finding contact persons and dealing with bureaucracy has been much more difficult.

The City of Tampere aims to promote the safe and tidy vitalisation of the urban environment. When applying for a permit, the new e-form requires the name and contact details of both the applying artist or group and the person responsible for the street art project. In addition, a description of the artwork and a plan or a picture of the design draft must be included. The planned date, the proposed site and a picture or map of the planned location of the artwork must also be provided. Permit applications can be made for both permanent and temporary works, but the City of Tampere has the right to decide an artwork’s life cycle.

The artist must have complete copyright to the street art work. The artwork may not include commercial, religious or political marketing or statements. If the work is deemed suitable, the applicant must then apply for a permit for work carried out in a street in accordance with the instructions provided.

Text: Tiia-Maria Angeli
Photos: Laura Happo
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