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Walls with Paint: Step in the Arena 2020

In 'Walls with Paint', Eindhoven local, photographer, and art fan Lukedaduke shares the story behind a special street art project in Eindhoven. This month: the annual graffiti festival: Step In The Arena that takes place in de Berenkuil.

Last weekend at the Insulindeplein in Eindhoven, better known as “De Berenkuil” (The Bearpit), an important graffiti festival would’ve taken place for the 11th time. Step In The Arena is postponed, and by now, we all know why.

Since 2010, national and international graffiti artists have been coming over to Eindhoven to give de Berenkuil a makeover during the annual festival. Last year, more than 120 artists gave the walls a new look. The festival and the place itself are a huge crowd pleaser for the city of Eindhoven.

The Insulindeplein was built in 1973 and got its nickname pretty fast. There are similar places within the Netherlands and other countries with similar names. It often exists as a barrier for cars and a lower part for cyclists and walkers. 

In the last century, a new art form blew over: graffiti. De Berenkuil quickly became a target

At the end of the ’70s and early ’80s of the last century, a new art form came over from the USA; graffiti. Soon enough, de Berenkuil became a target for this creative expression; the concrete walls, the illuminated tunnels, and the fact they were out of direct sight made it a perfect place to leave a tag, a throw-up, or a piece.

In the ’90s, the city of Eindhoven officially decided that graffiti would be tolerated at de Berenkuil, resulting in it developing into one of the biggest Hall Of Fames in Europe and perhaps the world. Graffiti artists from all over the world know this place, and often new pieces are painted by local artists and international artists.

Step In The Arena couldn’t find a better place! The idea of organizing a two-day graffiti jam was born in 2010; within the youth center Dynamo. Over the years, local artists like MISTER, FLEKS, and CHAS have appeared here. And also, internationally known artists like BELIN, AROE, and NYCHOS have paid a visit.

And if you think: “Well, there might be nothing new to see right now,” you’re wrong. Local artists took the crisis as an opportunity to make de Berenkuil their Hall Of Fame again. Go and have a look: every week, there is new work for you to enjoy!

Step in the Arena