It's an interesting idea.
Early this week some of the community was in an uproar about the fresh coat of paint that was being applied to The Newcastle Hotel. It appears that in a digital age every decision a business owner makes could be called into question and viciously condemned because people decide that is not the right decision.
Don't get me wrong. I love street art. I just feel like I need to defend the freedom of a business to paint over what was done under previous owners. I think that most people can appreciate that when you move into a new space, wether a new room, home or workspace, you want to put your own spin on things? Needless to say, I'd expect the same thing of a business owner taking on an existing business.
Here I think we need to question what street art really is and the part it has to play. I'd argue that street art, but its nature is transient work that should be celebrated while it exists and then move on quietly when it does not. My own view is that I would like to see more of this kind of art across the city of Newcastle and I'd love to foster a community that supports this. I don't think naming and shaming businesses that then choose to paint over the work on their building helps to support this idea. Actually, I think it is counterintuitive. I've heard arguments for a public art officer to exist at local council and honestly, I think it is a ridiculous idea. This person would come with a heap more red tape for businesses and create new economic victims in a community that really can't support more businesses dying in the name of progress (or lack of).
Some of you might remember Hit The Bricks several years ago happening and the hoards of fresh art that popped up during that weekend. I want to see more of that! How do you achieve it? You need businesses with walls to donate them and even pay for production costs. I can't imagine businesses supporting this with the news of Valley Kitchens still fresh in their minds. Don't remember that? Google it.
Celebrate the beauty while it exists, don't mock and belittle the business once it goes.
It feels like, to an extent, much of the heat is still a cost from the Hotel moving from a focus on LGBTQI community to a focus on music performance. Someone else said it best highlighting that really any anger should be directed to the people that sold the business not the new owners. I'd argue that the shift had already happened to a great extent and potentially, if you really wanted to blame someone, have a look at Unity Nightclub and what it did for the LGBTQI community by moving a crowd to several different venues thus moving their "safe space" and then packing up and moving to Sydney.
Really, I'd like to know. Everyone on their high horse, complaining about it. When was the last time you had been to the Gateway Hotel and spent money in their venue? How often were you at patron supporting the community? If the answer isn't most weeks or fairly often, then maybe you should accept some blame for the changing of the guard. That's how businesses work, they need money to pay people and the smart businesses learn to evolve to suit their crowd.
Right now, so much is changing in this city and it should be cause for celebration.
Stop the hating, start celebrating!