Festival to be biggest yet

31 Jan 2018 Benalla Ensign, Benalla VIC (General News) by Simon Ruppert Now approaching its fourth year, Benallas Wall to Wall Festival has cemented itself as a worldclass event and has put the rural city on the map as a pioneering leader in street art. Wall to Wall Festival artistic director Shaun Hossack said he was proud to say Benalla was the most exciting street art location in the country. The collection of street art works in Benalla is second to none, Mr Hossack said. There isnt another place in Australia that has so many highquality murals in such a small area. Even Melbourne, one of the worlds foremost destinations for street art, doesnt have this many murals in the one spot. The success of Wall to Wall has given Benalla the title of regional street art capital of the country, with a densely populated outdoor gallery of more than 60 iconic public works by Australias leading street artists, local emerging artists and renowned international artists. The 2018 festival promises to be the biggest yet with the introduction of a virtual reality component and branching out into two satellite sites, with the full line-up to be announced shortly. Recent modelling shows that the 2017 festival not only put Benalla on the map, but also contributed strongly to the local economy. Taking festival and postfestival economic impact into account, it resulted in an estimated annual total expenditure of $4.527 million by visitors coming specifically to Benalla, equating to a total economic impact of $6.338 million over the year. This years festival will be even bigger than the last with two satellite sites selected, with both featuring silo art by two world-leading street artists. The towns selected are Goorambat and Devenish, a short drive from Benalla. Temporary, inflatable sculptures will also be dotted around the town by Australias most revered contemporary street artists, Anthony Lister. Another exciting element at this years festival is a cutting edge virtual reality street art simulator at the events main festival hub, giving viewers a unique first person perspective of what it feels like to be a spray paint artist. Professional street art tour guide David Russell will again be on hand for those who want to get an insiders look at how different street artists work has evolved and the different styles and approaches the individual artists take when creating works and establishing their careers. State Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said she was thrilled Labor was again supporting the Wall to Wall festival in her home town. Since its inception I have worked hard to ensure the festival receives Victorian Government funding and its fantastic to see the event grow each year, Ms Symes said. The festival brings thousands of people to my beautiful home town, boosting the local economy and supporting local jobs. It has also reinvigorated Benalla, putting it on the world stage as a leader in street art. The Wall to Wall Festival is something we can all be extremely proud of. Caption Text: Stunning: The Regent Honeyeater by DVate.