The Cronulla Walk the Walls street art festival is forecast to bring "positive change" that will be welcomed by residents and make the area a more desirable destination for visitors.
"I think it is a perfect way to create a new face for Cronulla," said internationally renowned street artist Tim "Phibs", who is overseeing the project. .
Over three days starting on Friday, more than 35 artists will create an outdoor art gallery, with murals transforming drab and graffiti-marred walls in back streets and laneways of the CBD.
More than 5000 people are expected to attend the event, which will be three times the size of the very successful inaugural Walk the Walls festival at Caringbah last year.
The festival coincides with Australian Music Week, with live shows throughout the weekend at Dunningham Park, food trucks, a designated licensed area and mural painting.
Walk the Walls will also include family friendly activities in Monro Park, a pop-up library in Surf Lane and mural painting by young people and seniors in separate locations.
The festival, which is jointly funded by Sutherland Shire Council and the state government, is designed as a crime-prevention initiative to reduce graffiti vandalism and as a boost for the local economy.
Sections of the multi-storey car park will be closed, so visitors are encouraged to use public transport.
Visitors can follow the street art trail via the virtual map on the council's website, which can be accessed easily by scanning the QR code that will be located throughout the trail.
The festival program will also be available as a limited edition booklet along the trail.
I think people used to put vandalism and mural making in the same basket.Project manager Tim 'Phibs'
Phibs, the festival curator and project manager, said, "I do everything from selecting the right artists for the right walls to working out what equipment is needed".
"Some walls are quite large and we will need a scissor lift or boom lift, with safety considerations.
"It is like having an exhibition in a gallery - we obviously create a joint outdoor collection where people can walk around and look at the artworks .
"I have been painting for more than 30 years and, through being involved in the street art scene, I know the majority of the artists on a personal level.
"It is a tight little scene where everyone knows each other.
"I have tried to use a diverse mix of artists, both established and up and coming, male and female, Indigenous and a few artists from Victoria, which is the street art capital of Australia.
"Each artist brings something different to the exhibition.
"The work that people can expect to see ranges from portraiture to pattern making.
"Festivals are really an excuse to do what we love doing and having an audience at the same time.
"I have been looking at the locations and what walls we have available and they are different sizes and shapes. We have some very good spaces."
Phibs said "attitudes to street art are changing and people are starting to see the value it brings to an area".
"This sub culture is getting more and more credibility," he said.
"I think people used to put vandalism and mural making in the same basket.
"But, they are starting to realise street art creates a distinction.
"I really want to open people's views to this type of art, which creates an interesting environment."
Phibs said Walk the Walls at Caringbah had been "tremendously successful" in activating an area which people had previously tended to avoid.
"Cronulla will be three times the size. We have 35-40 artists whereas at Caringbah it was a third of that," he said.
"The artists are mindful of creating positive, uplifting imagery that is site specific to Cronulla, which has a beach culture.
"I think it is a perfect way to create a new face for Cronulla.
"Some of the local community are a bit nervous, but I guarantee that once the walls are up people will see positive change for Cronulla.
"I think Cronulla will also become a more desirable destination for visitors.
"There are people who have lived in Sydney all their lives and have never visited Cronulla.
"This will attract people and they will have a coffee or lunch and and we hope they might come back at a later date with family or friends."
Phibs said the festival provided "a great opportunity to see artists at work and their processes".
"The established artists will be mentoring, or leading by example, as they work side by side with the up and comers.
Established artists include Ox King, Minna Leunig, Mulga, Alex Le Hours, Shannon Crees and Elliott "Numskull" Routledge.
Locations where murals will be painted include Surf Lane, Croydon Lane, Cronulla Street, Purley Place and next to the rail corridor.
Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce said, "I am excited we are again hosting this free outdoor festival for our community".
"I hope everyone enjoys exploring all that Cronulla has to offer," he said.
"It's going to be a busy weekend in Cronulla, and with sections of the council car park closed as artists beautify the area, we advise visitors to catch public transport."
State Attorney-General and Cronulla MP Mark Speakman said, "The NSW Government is pleased to sponsor the Walk The Walls event once more".
"I've no doubt it will build on the food, fun and fantastic art Caringbah."