Graffiti Walls – Free Space

Some councils allow “free space” where graffiti artists are allowed to graffiti with the idea that this will prevent graffiti artists damaging or painting other walls.

Having looked into this the Sheffield Council don’t seem to have any “free walls”. This site says that Sharrow Ball Courts is a free space:

However, according to this thread on Sheffield Forum it is a myth:

“Whilst there is a perception that Mount Pleasent is a legal site, it isn’t. It is a council owned playground and ballpark, which has never been sanctioned for graffiti writers. It is not overlooked by any houses, and is thus difficult to police.”

I have contacted the council via email and Twitter to see if there are any free spaces.

This wall outside Cupola gallery has been designated a “free space” by the gallery.

“The wall began life in 2013 as a free space for graffiti artists to express themselves. In 2014 The talented Rob Lee painted his ‘Four Jerseys’ mural in commemoration of the Tour de France. This became a much loved piece.  Three years on the mural is in need of repair and we feel it is time for a new artist to take over this mantel.” –

Cupola Wall – Commissioned work
Shop wall – Commissioned work


However, this has been done by the business itself not the council. I’m thinking that having free spaces inside parks might prevent graffiti/vandals destroying park equipment if they have a specific space to do it. Or maybe this could be used as an art space for kids?

With the idea of combining this with an app to report park problems – vandals, graffiti etc but every month someone comes to repaint the “free space” possibly  bringing paint with them to allow children to paint over it.

Sheffield’s “War” on Graffiti:

“So it’s welcome news that a six-week ‘spring clean’ is set to rid Sheffield’s city centre businesses of this modern menace – head over to page 6 today for more. Four teams are set to blitz 60 different sites, and business owners will be able to request services for free. Once that’s done, the city centre will no doubt be transformed into a clean, brilliant haven of shiny walls and gleaming shopfronts. For about a day, at best. Because once the offending spray is gone, it won’t take long at all for these aerosol-toting bandits to tool up and target every single wall and shopfront all over again. Because let’s face it, the police have probably got better things to do (and spend limited budgets on) than to patrol for vandalism in the dead of night.”


“Bristol’s Clean Streets project manager, Kurt James, insisted that he and the mayor wanted to work alongside the artists, not against them. “If we start from a position that says street art is important to this city, there’s no reason why it can’t be accommodated.

“It’s about working with artists to help us to solve some of these problems that we’ve got. When you talk to artists, they want to help. They want the city to be pretty. They want interesting images to be displayed on walls, which can enhance the lives of people.”

Mayor Rees said street art was a hugely important part of the city. “We’ve got to protect that. But we know that some of the stuff is not art – it’s vandalism.” He said there would be an ongoing conversation with the artists about how they could have the room to express themselves – while helping to clamp down on what he sees as vandalism.”

Wanting to work with the artists in order to prevent vandalism. Graffiti is unlikely to go away, embracing that fact and working with artists could be a good way forward. Having “free spaces” in parks could encourage street art – as is in the sort of graffiti that brightens up spaces not creating a feeling that a space is unsafe and threatening.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *