One of the nation's largest street art projects will transform Katoomba over the next four years if an ambitious crowdfunding campaign meets its target by the end of this month.
Award-winning organisation Street Art Murals Australia (SAMA) hopes to co-ordinate the creation of more than 40 murals in Beverly Place, a neglected town centre laneway only minutes from Katoomba Railway Station.
With most of the mural spaces more than three storeys high, the street art walk will cover an area greater than 3800 square metres - or 188,000 bricks.
SAMA co-ordinator Jarrod Wheatley, who has negotiated agreement with the precinct's private landowners, said the street art walk will become a tourist drawcard for the Blue Mountains.
"It will have a huge impact on Katoomba. It is sure to be a tourist attraction as we've seen in other hubs like Melbourne, which have become meccas for street art. And with increased tourism we will see increased foot traffic in the Katoomba CBD," he said.
Dave Riley of Riley's Renovators - whose office overlooks the laneway - suggested the idea and has become a project partner.
The street art walk will roll out over four years, with eight murals completed in the first year, 10 each in the following two years, and 12 in its final 12 months. Leading Australian and international artists are expected to be attracted to the project.
But the project's completion is dependent on a crowdfunding campaign meeting an $18,000 target by the end of September. Supporters can pledge amounts from $5 to $7500 with a range of rewards on offer.
Associate Professor of Urban Geography at the University of Sydney, Kurt Iveson, is in no doubt about the project's significance.
"The scale of this project, and the fact that it has the support of a wide range of stakeholders, is incredibly exciting," he said.
"It has often been difficult to get large-scale projects off the ground, precisely because anything on this scale must inevitably involve a lot of players. For this reason, there are not many other comparable projects on this scale. Now that the groundwork for the project has been done, I really hope that the community gets behind the crowdfunding campaign to make it a reality."
Mr Wheatley hopes supporters of SAMA - formerly the Blue Mountains Street Art Collaborative - will back the campaign. SAMA has completed a range of community and private murals across the Blue Mountains, including the prominent 'bushfire thank you' mural at the Springwood Civic Centre redevelopment site.
"If we don't hit that figure it won't happen. We don't get any of the money," he said. "So if there are people in the community who have supported what we have done since 2008 - if they have enjoyed the bushfire mural in Springwood and our other murals - now's the time to show it," he said.
For details about the crowdfunding campaign - dubbed "There is More to Street Art than Banksy" - visit: https://startsomegood.com/Venture/street_art_murals_australia/Campaigns/Show/there_is_more_to_street_art_than_banksy