New York: FEATURED IN THE WORLD’S FIRST UNIVERSAL STREET ART APP
Officially released a little over a year ago, Street Art Cities built an impressive network of city maps compiled by street art enthusiasts, documenting the best of street art in major cities all over the world. What started as a coincidental meeting between 2 street art enthusiasts from Heerlen (Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium) evolved into one of the fastest-growing street art communities in the world.
Over 240 cities are collectively responsible for mapping out a staggering number of almost 15,000 murals and counting. ‘We never expected this but, every hour at least a few new uploads are made, somewhere in the world’, says Sanne Gijsbers, one of the founders of Street Art Cities. Today, they add the biggest to the map: NYC. And they couldn't do it without the help of Sold Magazine, and the Contributors that document the Big Apple!
PAST: Boy Meets Girl
It all began with a girl’s passion for street art by documenting all of the murals in Heerlen, a small town in the south of the Netherlands. Sanne started documenting all of this amazing art to show her wonderful city to the world and streetartheerlen.com was born. Then Tim from Antwerp contacted her, and after meeting and talking, they set up streetartantwerp.com.
Sharing the same passion and ideas about street art and seeing the scalability of this documenting tool, they started a pilot early last year and Street Art Cities was born. With a cool, easy to use digital infrastructure, they started connecting with street art hunters from all over the world.
PRESENT: Exploring cities through street art
Street art, a definition often used when referring to murals and graffiti in city areas, is gaining popularity. A growing number of cities are investing in these artworks, or ‘city tattoos’ as Bart Temme calls them. ‘We never expected this initiative to gain so much traction so fast’, he says. More and more cities and municipalities are taking street art seriously, due to different reasons. Because of the ephemeral nature of this urban art and new artworks keep popping up (spontaneously), vistors can always come back to take a stroll through these cities as the open air gallery changes constantly.
These are exactly the reasons a team of 5 started building a network of technologically-sophisticated maps and a community to manage it.
Meanwhile, the hobby project became serious, and gained attention worldwide, as did the efforts to transform the information to a digital experience that reaches thousands worldwide. The free Street Art Cities app taps into the web interface to show 25 cities at this point. If you want to explore other cities, you can always acces the web interface with 225+ cities live, with 30 of them in the US.
Now, that app experience also includes New York City. A team of hunters living in NYC has been working effortlessly to upload all of the available street art in the area, and that didn’t go unnoticed by the team. As of October 7th, NYC joins the list of cities that are included in the mobile app, the weapon of choice for tourists when visiting a new city, on the hunt for street art.
FUTURE: working with cities, working for the community
The digital presence didn’t stay hidden, as cities starting to ask if they could include their local artworks on the platform/app. Street Art Cities began thinking about how to handle these requests and developed some interesting tools to help cities promote their street art.
They also started collaborating with different blogs to get some more in-depth content and began talks with organizations who work closely with academics like Urban Creativity.
We also keep looking at the community for new ideas and ways to develop new features when the community suggests improvements, such as the “Collection" feature. As on Instagram, you can now create collections and plan your trips in advance by checking off your collections list. Pretty handy for those wintered hunters.
The app is available for both platforms and recently added Copenhagen as of September 7th. The team behind the initiative says it keeps developing the app and its content to stay up-to-date with new walls made, to match the technological possibilities and expectations of the audience.
Sold Magazine is helping grow the map everyday. With our contributors on top of the latest murals, the map is also available on our website: https://www.soldmagny.com/map
'As a street art hunter in NYC, I’m lucky to be able to see incredible work from artists all over the world. I want other locals and else to experience it so I’ve been happy to contribute to a platform that makes it so easy.'
- Sarah Sansom, Street Art Cities contributor (NYC)
'I wanted to be part of the project to show the world the wealth of art on New York City's walls, and I wanted to contribute to the amazing contributions by other street art hunters around the world. Street Art Cities is my go-to app before any trip I make, enriching the experience by providing background information about the murals in a given city as well as their locations.'
- John Domine, Street Art Cities contributor (NYC)
App photos by Contributor John Domine. Art by Zed1 and Kano
Just as getting involved with Sold Magazine was a way to give back to this culture and community, contributing to Street Art Cities was a way to be involved on a global level. As New Yorkers, we want to be the best hosts when other street art enthusiasts come to visit!
- Erica Stella, Street Art Cities contributor (NYC)
App Photos by contributor Erica Stella. Art by Icy & Sot and Eduardo Kobra