Graffiti/ Streetart & Urban Art – is it public art?

There are countless possibilities for funding and many things change every time… Either for institutional reasons, political restructuring or perhaps the description and explanation of the funding provider was misunderstood. Therefore, here is a small insight into which funding and possibilities there are in Vienna.

According to the text taken from their site.

„The department provides a diverse and affordable educational offer for all Viennese as well as recreational educational activities within the framework of children’s and youth work. It consists of the 3 departments Adult Education,…“


One may think the following points would be true and possible to promote. But it seems like it`s not or not the right way… regadring to MA13 I was aksing them to help me to find a funding where I can ask for money and help in connection to Graffiti/ Urban Art/ Streetart. Especially if the painters are not childs or youth anymore. I thought to teach and learn children or to paint with cilds and youth you can get funded by MA13 of Vienna. Its a pitty it`s not. They told me to ask „KÖR“ ( Art in public).

But „KÖR“- Art in public says – Graffiti/ Streetart and Urban Art is not an „public art form“.

I mean sorry! But in my opinion it was the first in the world!

Graffiti (Italian; singular graffito) is a collective term for thematically and creatively different visible elements, for example images, lettering or signs, which have been created using various techniques on surfaces or by altering them in private and public spaces.

Graffiti is the plural of the Italian word graffito. It is etymologically derived from the Greek γράφειν (graphein), which means to write and draw.

In Italian, graffito originally meant hatching and (in addition to its modern meaning today) denoted an inscription or ornamental or figural decoration carved into stone (see also the stucco techniques of sgraffito). Today, one also speaks of a graffiti instead of a graffito and uses the analogously formed plural graffitis. The Duden allows both terms. In the official usage of the GDR, graffiti as part of hip-hop youth culture was called „rap writing“, derived from rap. Each of us know for example hyroglyphs, cave paintings and more…right? they are not so diffent to our Graffiti/ Urban Art form nowadays.

So where we if not „Art in public or education & youth?“


„Adult education means responding to current challenges and opening as many channels of experience as possible. The open-endedness of art is particularly suitable for this.“

„The „aestheticisation of the ethical“ is what the cultural philosopher Shusterman calls for, since aesthetic considerations are essential to how we shape our lives and judge what a good life is. And with the question of how to shape the good life, we are in the middle of adult education practice.

Culture and politics

Through the Culture Agenda and Work Plans for Culture, the EU is supporting the key competence of „cultural awareness and expression“. This takes it a step further away from the danger of being misunderstood as an expendable add-on. However, the impressive employment figures of the cultural and creative industries are expected to have a so-called spillover effect on the wider economy. Is this cause for celebration or concern? Putting the answer to the question aside, it is worth looking at the expanded scope that is being created, not least for adult education.“

„The elusive potential of art finds a partner in general adult education with common goals and procedures. The most important elements of this common ground are:

– the attentiveness in dealing with individuals

– the appreciative and/or benevolent-critical treatment of every counterpart (human being, thing, nature)

– the will to understand, to expand, to create

– the willingness to engage in processes whose outcome may be uncertain.“


In art education

art itself is always the subject. The aim is to open it up as an element of experience and as significant for one’s own life. Visualisation, reflection and dialogue are the main features of art education processes. Ideally, artists, mediators and participants work together.

For example, the openings of the exhibitions that frequently take place are designed as a dialogue. This means that an introduction by the artist is followed by the viewing of the pictures or objects by the individual participants, who finally come together with all those present for an open discussion. The aim is to live with art, so attention is paid to the possibilities for intellectual engagement as well as sensory experience.

Educational houses are buildings that house people in learning situations. The effect of the space is the first educational event, even before a sentence is spoken. If it is also an artistically designed room, this event immediately takes on another dimension.

Kunst im öffentlichen Raum constantly asks itself the question of how art and the public sphere are subject to change. It understands the public sphere as the social basis for negotiating political and social issues. Information and communication are required as correlative practices to generate connections, to make them visible and to question them critically.

The possibilities of art lie in the interweaving of different forms of perception, thinking, experimentation and aesthetic experience. Art in public space is able to respond to specific places and situations in the city and can reflect and define their conditions and speeds.

The public must be experienced as a field in which democracy, opinion-forming and sociality can operate.

The public must be experienced as a field in which democracy, opinion-forming and sociality can operate.

All this is contained in the concept of graffiti and urban art culture, isn’t it? There is hardly any other art form that is so subject to change and transient. It is public and omnipresent, like our architecture and advertising. It is often critical and provocative as well as socially polarising and therefore questioning in a broader sense. Urban art, street art and graffiti also refer to the place. On the one hand, it can refer to a dilapidated house, be a free expression of opinion or conquer public space, have aesthetic as well as personal backgrounds and much more.
This culture is certainly 100% public and can be experienced, in a field in which democracy, opinion-forming and sociality can operate.

What do you think? We are happy to read from you and would like to know your opinion. Please share your thoughts with us so that we can understand it better and perhaps take a further step and make a positive difference.
Your opinion is important to us.

Martha Cooper