Street art comes and goes.
A mural may be vandalized, or whitewashed. The building may be bulldozed, or the images may simply flake off.
Preserving that art is one of the rationales behind the Google Street Art Project. The internet giant has created online galleries of photographs of selected street art, that will remain long after the art itself is gone.
“Some of the images are of murals that do not exist anymore,” said Lucy Schwartz, program manager of the Google Cultural Institute, which oversees this and many other online galleries.
“Sometimes an amazing wall can only be around for a few days. It is about documenting what has existed and giving a second life to the murals.”
Today Google will announce an addition to its Street Art Project of a mural created by Atlanta’s Living Walls organization.
Last year New Orleans artist MOMO and a group of volunteers with Living Walls painted the rainbow-hued mural along the Boulevard underpass — the section of the road that carries Boulevard under DeKalb Avenue.
The group painted more than 1,000 feet of walls, using alternating bands of bright and pastel tints to create a kind of color-field immersion.
“As you’re passing through you’re enveloped in this space,” the artist says in a video posted by Living Walls. “It gives people a sort of universal and non-specific experience, which is color and the interplay of different rhythms and spectrums.”
Last year Google began joining forces with local museums and arts organizations to pinpoint murals and other outdoor works to include in the Street Art Project. So far, Google has teamed with 86 such groups in 36 countries, and has posted 10,000 images in its online galleries.
Google’s mapping team also sends its “street view” vehicles to some sites, to add those images to its enormous archive. Following the images generated by the street view trolley as it moves through the Boulevard underpass isn’t quite the same as driving your own vehicle through the candy-colored passageway. But it’s close.