My best discoveries often come from my excursions with Charlie. Wrong turns, desperate need for bathroom breaks, and avoidance of busy streets lead me to some of the most amazing sights in Israel. While on a ride a few weeks ago, I was led to an incredible mural that covered the entire wall of a building. Located in the heart of downtown Haifa, a very average building was plastered with an incredibly vibrant and massive piece of art. I was immediately amazed by the sheer size and the extensive detail that went into the piece. As I continued to casually spin through the area, I kept coming across other incredible murals. Some big, some a bit smaller, but all igniting conversation about contemporary topics in society.
With a little research I found out that what I was seeing on the streets was a gallery created by a roster of renowned and respected artists. The Walls Festival is an international street art festival that takes place in developing urban neighborhoods and displays large-scale murals. The mission of the Walls Festival is to create a forum for discussion, cultural exchange and creativity, and to bring to life otherwise neglected and disenfranchised parts of cities. The neighborhood of downtown Haifa is located adjacent to the port and in an area of the city that was once seen as dangerous. Today, Local businesses and leaders are passionately trying to beautify this area of the city and revamp it as an up and coming hip spot.
Along with Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Haifa was lucky enough to host this festival in 2017 and 2018. The downtown area includes 12 masterpieces that create a vibrant and cultural scene. The once “dangerous” neighborhood is now lively and certainly happening.
#1 Tant, Haifa. Ha-Namal St 10, Haifa, Israel
#3 Alin Mor, Ha-Namal St 45
#4 Missing (Tel Aviv), Forty 5 Forty 6, Shivat Tsiyon St 7
#5 LEOLYXXX, Derech Jaffa 34, Haifa, Israel
#6 Demsky, Kibuts Galuyot St. 27
#7 Gida (Haifa), Ha-Zagag Street, Haifa.
I looked long and hard for this one. No luck… Either I am terrible with directions and google maps isn’t much help, or it is no longer there. But I did find some pictures with research.
#8 Mudwig (UK), Ha-Namal St 22
#9 Brothers of Light, Ha-Namal St 22
#10 Tom Melnik (Tel Aviv), Ha-Namal St 35
#11, Sickboy (Bristol), Ha-Namal St 41
#12, Three murals done by different artists are displayed in a courtyard at the southern end of the neighborhood.
Broken Fingaz (Haifa), Ha-Namal St 52
The Walls Festival has also inspired other street artists to display their talent. Below is a little gallery of the street art I have been able to appreciate as I make my way around the Haifa area.
The Walls Festival is an incredible tour of artwork that displays the creativity and culture of Haifa. It has encouraged me to view street art in a new light and has helped facilitate important conversations about peace and conflict here in Israel. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv often take the cake when creativity and culture are discussed in Israel, but Haifa is definitely here to give them a run for their shekels.