Mannheim is a city that keeps pace with the times – liberal-minded, creative, and so innovative that it brings art to its streets. The Stadt.Wand.Kunst (City.Wall.Art) initiative adds even more variety and colour to the already vibrant city of Mannheim and embellishes the public space in the most unusual locations. 30 murals are currently on display – among them Germany's largest one.
It all started in 2013 when the world-renowned artist duo Herakut were looking for a wall for their Giant Storybook Project, in which individual pages of a picture book were painted onto entire house walls. The Alte Feuerwache venue had already set up several graffiti projects in cooperation with spray paint manufacturer Montana Cans. They were happy to support Herakut and to find a suitable location together with the Mannheim Housing Association.
In the summer of 2013, the first mural called “My Superhero Power is Forgiveness” was created in square F6, 1-5. With its expressive lines and a short text, Herakut’s mural lovingly and inspiringly tells a story of collective constraints, social divisions, strength and forgiveness.
Herakut’s impressive murals attracted a lot of positive feedback – so the decision was made to use even more walls for street art in Mannheim. The idea for Stadt.Wand.Kunst – the Open Urban Art Gallery – was born.
The aim is to create a public museum of façade art and thus bring artworks into the heart of the city, accessible to everyone and free of charge. Another special feature of this gallery is that you can even follow the creation of the murals live.
The following summer saw the creation of the colourful mural “The Modern Thinker” by the Moscow artist ASKE, which also adorns the F squares of Mannheim’s city centre. The work is a modern interpretation of Auguste Rodin’s iconic “Thinker”, composed like a comic strip of individual, separate surfaces.
For five years now, the Stadt.Wand.Kunst project has been inviting numerous diverse street artists to Mannheim every summer. Whether national newcomers, international stars or emerging regional artists, each of them spends months in advance preparing for the new space and coordinating the artwork with its surroundings so that each mural occupies its proper place in the district.
So far, the following artists have participated in Stadt.Wand.Kunst: HERAKUT, ASKE, SATONE, STOHEAD and SOBEKCIS as well as HOMBRE SUK & BOOGIE, MEINER and SWEETUNO, SAINER, Mehrdad Zaeri, BEZT, Hendrik ECB Beikirch, Alexey LUKA, Yazan Halwani, NEVERCREW, LOW BROS and HOMBRE SUK, 1010 and WAONE Interesni Kazki. In summer 2018, they were joined by The London Police, Sourati, Frau Isa and Egs.
In sum, a total of 22 works have been created since the start of the initiative. Sadly, some are no longer visible because the buildings they adorned had to be demolished.