Given the great cultural value of street art and recognition of the movement, there has been great discussion in recent years to protect the art produced. In 2008 Australia’s National Trust along with Heritage Victoria suggested listing some of Melbourne CBD’s laneways as heritage sites.
In many respects the creation of sites dedicated to street art are enhancing the art form and simultaneously encouraging a longer life for it. Illegal works in isolated areas tend to be quickly targeted by council and efficiently removed. Given the estimated $400 million of government money that is spent on cleaning up graffiti, it seems logical to dedicate that money to maintaining designated laneways for the use of street artists.
Hosier lane is one such laneway, now known as a badge of cultural diversity. These laneways have become outdoor galleries and are a destination people can visit to view works of great calibre and talented artists. It is an uncensored, expressive gallery where no statement is too risqué. The creation of legal street art sites act as a promoter of the artists, but equally preserves the art form and the works itself. Given the unwritten rule ‘go over, go better’, a level of respect is exercised in these areas allowing great pieces of art to remain relatively untouched.