Paris’ Street Art Sanctuary Threatened by Redevelopment
Rue Dénoyez, a short street covered in graffiti at the heart of Belleville, has for many years been a focal point for Parisian street artists and their growing fan base. But this might about to change, Libération reports, following a proposal made by the 20th arrondissement’s mayor’s office to demolish a stretch of the street to develop social housing units and a daycare center.
The collective of local artists Fais ta rue has launched an online petition to stop the project, which at the time of writing had gathered 3,147 supporters. The petition argues that rue Dénoyez has become a key touristic attraction in Belleville, an area that, in the last few years, has become increasingly gentrified and home to a cluster of cutting edge contemporary art galleries. The petition also argues that the street has become an example of a mixed community living and creating in harmony, a balance that is now threatened by the mayor’s proposal. A banner with the message “Sauvons la rue Dénoyez” now hangs in the middle of the street.
Cédric Borderie, leader of Fais ta rue, told Street Press: “We are not opposed to daycare centers and subsidized housing. But why here? In this street we have managed to build something exceptional. Everybody here talks to each other, all the communities mix. And the artists are very important. They create a social link.”
Hélène Vicq, mayor’s adjunct in charge of urbanism and architecture, is sympathetic to the residents’ plight, but resolute. “Initially, the daycare center was supposed to be installed at 36 Rue de Belleville, but the local residents mobilized in opposition,” she told Street Press. “This is the only suitable parcel left in the arrondissement, so we don’t really have a choice.” She nonetheless conceded: “the street art gives [Rue Dénoyez] its identity. We’ll leave them some walls to paint on.”
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