Wander along Vienna’s Danube canal, for example, and you’ll find the walled banks a canvas of colour. Street art fills parts of the city, with the Calle Libre festival an annual highlight in the urban art calendar.
- Live contemporary art painting across urban spaces
- Supporting programme of talks, tours, etc.
- Last event focused on a single location (Nordwestbahnhof)
- Festival site had music, bars and more, too
- 2023 dates: TBA (was Aug 1-7 in 2022)
- See also:
Where art meets walls
(Street art along the Danube canal)
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 in 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’s history, city walls in various Viennese districts have got a little brighter, a little more colourful, and a little more inspiring.
Call it curated street art of a higher order. You have the artistic value, but also the dialogue that inevitably ensues when you stick contemporary art (particularly a form which often comes with clear social commentary) in a public, urban space.
Incidentally, the organisers behind Calle Libre ride at the vanguard of Vienna’s street art movement, and account for many of the glorious examples 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: typically talks and tours, workshops, artist meets, opening and closing parties, and more.
I don’t have dates for 2023 yet. Calle Libre ran for the first seven days of August in 2022. That event saw live paintings focused on one festival area (Nordwestbahnhof in the 20th district) under the appropriate motto of “regeneration.”
Nordwestbahnhof is a former rail station and goods depot and now a huge urban regeneration project that will see an integrated and “climate-friendly” living and work space emerge over the coming years.
Previous iterations of Calle Libre spread the art across the city. With the focus on a single festival site, the event adopted more of a traditional festival character, with music, food trucks and bars on site along with the workshops and tours.
Check the official website for full 2023 event details once available.