The Street Art Foundation.

Heerlen is a former mining town that largely suffered from the collapse of its mining industry in the second half of the 20th century, resulting in a loss of economic and social attractiveness and leading to large-scale problems related to migration, social deprivation and disconnection between the cities communities. Since 2001, the city works to fight its issues of deprivation through culture. Hereby, it nominated street art (e.g. Mural Arts) as one of the key cultural expression forms for this cause, based on the art form’s ability to make effective use of the city’s raw and unpolished surfaces.

Supported by Heerlen Municipality, the Street Art Foundation (SAF), established in 2013, has been able to use the potentials of Mural Arts and turn it into a tool for social interaction. The foundation has facilitated the creation of 67 Murals that revolve around the idea of co-creation and co-ownership, created by artists on raw walls and abandoned buildings, reflecting the local contexts of people, neighbourhoods and the city’s history. The foundation is a trend-setter in the development of cooperation activities among Mural artists, local businesses and schools. For the creation of the Murals, the foundation closely cooperates with various cultural actors in the city (e.g. the Cultura Nova Festival) and the Municipality of Heerlen (e.g. in projects such as the Aurora Flat redevelopment project).