Wander along Vienna’s Danube canal, for example, and you’ll find the walled banks a canvas of urban colour. Art? Graffiti? Both? Your choice. But one annual events seeks to highlight street art as a true art form: the Calle Libre festival.
- Live contemporary art painting on urban spaces
- Supporting programme of talks, tours, etc.
- Now reaching its 8th year
- 2021 dates: TBA
- See also: Streetlife festival | Contemporary art in Vienna
Where art meets walls
Calle Libre translates into free street in Spanish (or so Google translate tells me) and the same-named event bills itself as a festival for urban aesthetics. It essentially falls into two parts.
The first is the actual art, where Austrian and international (mainly Latin American) street artists ply their trade on dedicated spaces throughout Vienna with “live paintings”.
As such, Calle Libre is a chance to observe these masters of their art at work as they create their large-scale murals and urban delights.
Over the course of the festival, city walls in various Viennese districts get a little brighter, a little more colourful, and a little more inspiring.
Call it curated street art of a higher order. There’s the artistic value, but also the dialogue that inevitably ensues when you stick contemporary art (particularly a form which sometimes comes with contentious associations) in a public, urban space.
(Street art along the Danube canal)
Incidentally, the organisers behind Calle Libre ride at the vanguard of Vienna’s street art movement, and account for many of the wonders of urban art you’ll spot once you drift away from the city’s palaces and churches.
The second part of Calle Libre is the supporting programme at different locations: typically talks and tours, workshops, artist meets, opening and closing parties, and more.
Check the official website for full event details.
Calle Libre ran from August 1st to August 8th in 2020, albeit in a somewhat slimmed down form in the wake of Coronavirus measures. I expect similar dates for 2021, which I’ll post once I get them.