Graffiti and street artists transform hoardings into vast changing artwork in Capital’s Old Town
Graffiti and street artists from across Scotland have converged on a construction site in Edinburgh’s city centre to launch the country’s largest street art project.
In a unique partnership bringing together community activists and the developers behind the city’s New Waverley scheme, a vast ever-changing canvass spanning almost half a kilometre is being created right in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
The ground-breaking project is being led by Work In Progress Edinburgh (WIPE), a community arts partnership made up of local residents and city artists. The group has linked up with Artisan Real Estate Investors, the developers behind the New Waverley scheme which is now beginning construction on a revitalised city centre district linking the capital’s Canongate area and Waverley Station with the Royal Mile.
WIPE’s inaugural project, entitled the Canongate Plot, will see the group using a national network of street and graffiti artists to create a huge collage covering the majority of the development’s external facings as construction begins. This includes a row of arches and hoardings along East Market Street, a 200 metre hoardings strip along New Street, and scaffolding on the Royal Mile.
The project will combine permanent ‘story-telling’ artwork by renowned Edinburgh artist Chris Rutterford with an ever-changing tableau of graffiti art, self-regulated by WIPE’s own Code of Conduct committing all participants to the highest standards of public art and behaviour.
The Canongate Plot’s fist stage, starting at The Arches on East Market Street and inspired by the theme of Bonfire Night, was launched on Monday (3 November). It brought together around 60 graffiti artists who began spray painting the previous day and completed the inaugural artwork in less than 12 hours.
Artist and one of the founding members of WIPE, Chris Rutterford, said: “This output is an amazing achievement in such a short space of time by an amazing posse of painters who’ve been honing their skills for years. Sunday’s dynamic explosion of creativity is the first stage of a hugely significant project set to transform perceptions of street art as a productive force for creative change across Edinburgh and Scotland.
“The most exciting aspect of the project is its dynamic, ever changing nature. We have called it ‘work in progress’ deliberately – often the artist toiling at the coal face of creativity creates as much joy as the final piece. The continuing prolific output of the combined street artists in the ‘Canongate Plot’ looks set to provide a vibrant creative heartbeat in the city for years to come.’
He added: “We want to work with the wider community on future stages which will include linking with schools and holding weekend events and street art workshops. The project aims to show, in full Technicolor glory, what can be achieved when different interests and skills work together positively to create consensus and positively transform an urban area.”
The £150 million New Waverley development is transforming the area into a vibrant pedestrian-friendly urban area mixing open public spaces with retailers, restaurants, hotels, homes and offices. The first phase development activity, delivering two hotels and a new £6.5 million public square, has now started and is expected to be complete by 2016.
Welcoming the launch of the Canongate Plot, Clive Wilding, UK Asset Manager with developers Artisan, added: “With construction now starting on New Waverley, we wanted to make a very strong statement of intent about the development and the community that it represents – both now and in the future.
“The project will create a powerful sense of place and identity for people living, working and visiting the area, coupled with a hint to the dynamic and vibrant community that New Waverley will become. Most of all, this project is testament to the creativity and passion of the people living here, which is the most important part of any urban development.”
For more information and to monitor the progress of the Canongate Plot, visit: