Some art is designed to be ephemeral and is not meant to meant to survive its time. Street art is in a completely different category. Art on a sturdy wall implies permanence, but we know that's not the case. Street art, whether classified as vandalism or commissioned murals, is by definition public, and therefore faces the danger of being tagged by graffiti or painted over by authorities or property owners. Buildings are damaged by weather, catastrophes, and natural wear. And of course, buildings are often completely removed for new construction. The Banksy graphic shown above, in New Orleans, only exists in photographs because the building was demolished long ago.
Because street art is so ephemeral, the art education charity Art UK has begun a three-year initiative to record and preserve murals, sculpture, and other street art in a database of digital photographs. The database will be free and open to the public. However, the project is only funded through 2026, so art created after that will have to rely on crowdsourced photography in order to be preserved. Read about the project from Art UK at ARTnews.
(Image credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans)