Following Grazie Jenny and I headed to Geldern for the 34th International Street Art Competition in Grazie.  Geldern is a total contrast to Grazie.  This event first started in 1979 to celebrate the 750th anniversary of Geldern.  While the Council thought it should be a one-off event, the public had other ideas – they voiced their opinions and were heard and thus here we are at the 34th anniversary.

This town opens it arms to street painters, in fact you could say this town is breeding street painters.  Children as young as 4 years old take part in the festival, all ages do – children, youth, adults from the town and surrounding area as well as more experienced artists from other countries. Approximately 35,000 people live in Geldern and this year 332 people participated – numbers were lower than expected due to the extreme heat.  

Jenny McCracken was guest artist at this years event.  She was last in Geldern in 1991, at that time she and Roland Josuttis won first place with their artwork ‘Red Gorbi’ based on Yeltsin taking over from Gorbachev. 21 years later the duo reunited to produce ‘Iron Ladies’ – Angela Merkel and Julia Gillard enjoy European and Australian teamwork.

Jenny McCracken and Roland Josuttis winners at Geldern in 1991 with 'Red Gorbi'
Angela Merkel and Julia Gillard enjoy European and Australian teamwork as do Jenny McCracken and Roland Josuttis in 2012

While Jenny and Roland and all the other artists worked, I met with Gerd Lange from the city of Geldern and shared information about Geldern and Australia’s Chalk Urban Art Festival and discussed ideas for the future and opportunities for artists.  I also met with many artists who would love to come to Australia – stay tuned for more news on that, discussions will continue with Festival Organisers from Italy, Mexico, France, USA and the Netherlands as well as Germany.