The Southern-Sydney town of Caringbah has pushed barriers aside to pursue one of the best public arts programmes the state has seen yet.

In the busy hub of Caringbah, located in Sydney’s south, local councils, residents and artists understood that it was time for a change. The drab and dreary brick laneways and streets lacked presence- the town felt a bit lifeless. No distinct personality and nothing to make locals or visitors feel at home. Especially in the evening, it was the kind of place you’d walk through quickly to make your way home from the local train station. Blank spaces were host to graffiti and unkind words. This wasn’t the right reflection on the town or it’s lovely people.

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But this has all since changed. Walk The Walls Caringbah was the brand new arts initiative hosted by council and local artists to fix up the laneways and improve street presence. In a bid to reduce vandalism and criminal activity from taking place in the town, Caringbah became home to a new mural arts program.

Tens of artists took to the streets to design, create and ultimately increase placemaking with cultural art. Some familiar names include Mulga, the much-loved Shire artist, as well as Zac Bennet Brook, Onejessa, OX King and Hayley Mischief Lord.

In total, 23 public pieces were painted on the walls. Over the weekend of the makeover, more than 5,000 community members flocked to the streets to see them being repainted and re-loved. A cultural walk was created by the town’s council to curate an artistic adventure around the streets of Caringbah. Live music, food trucks and pop up hubs were placed in open spaces to create a mini-festival. Locals and visitors alike were absolutely buzzing with energy to see their new home reinvigorated with life and love.

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The initiative has been an absolute success to say the least. Caringbah locals are absolutely thrilled and extremely proud of their amazing town walls, which now brilliantly reflect the thriving community in which they live. It’s even opened up conversation with surrounding cities to host their own Walk The Walls edition, with town-members alike flocking to social media and council members to recommend where they’d like to see public art in their very own neighbourhood.

Walks The Walls Caringbah has proved to be the ultimate example in placemaking. Simple methods, such as community involvement, art, and celebratory gatherings have brought the Shire neighbourhood together to enjoy the outdoors and become immersed in public art. If this happened in every small pocket of Sydney, our streets would be much brighter, friendlier and of course, a lot happier.

A huge well done to the following teams who made it all happen, and of course to all of the artists.

Sutherland Shire Council | Hazelhurst Sutherland Shire Arts Centre | Ironlak | Crockers Paint & Wallpaper | NSW Government