Rotterdam posters, Source: Publieke Werken

Rotterdam transforms abandoned billboards into an artistic exhibition

Rotterdam transforms abandoned billboards into an artistic exhibition

Because creativity is better than advertising

Rotterdam has come up with an ingenious idea on how to promote the work of local artists while making efficient use of the public space meant for ads. With the cancellation of numerous events due to Covid-19, hundreds of advertising billboards were made redundant. Locals thus decided to turn them into an exhibition putting on display Rotterdam’s talent while simultaneously making public space more attractive.

Creativity trumps advertising

From 9 July to 9 August, 900 billboards around Rotterdam will show illustrations, images and photos by more than 400 Rotterdam artists. This is part of the Publieke Werken (Public Works) outdoor exhibition.

The idea arose from a collaboration between event organizer Joost Maaskant (Stichting de Loodsen), graphic designer Sibe Kokke (NOTDEF) and program creator Rineke Kraaij (Grote Nederlandse Kunstkalender) who found themselves surrounded by useless posters and billboards advertising events that were never going to happen, due to Covid-19. The group unanimously decided that this should be a place for art.

Rotterdam - postersA number of works of art that can be admired in 900 Rotterdam billboards from 9 July to 9 August. Image by Publieke Werken

Thus, they launched a call for contributions from artists and selected over 400 out of 500 artworks for an exhibition, submitted by creative talents of all ages and abilities. They can be seen in the poster frames of the outdoor advertising company Kooyman at the metro stations, in tunnels, traffic squares and in other outdoor areas until 9 August.

It is even possible to cycle along some of them and see them as a complete exhibition. Also, all the artworks are mapped and can be seen in details on the campaign’s webpage. Posters will also be up for sale.

Initiatives like this serve as proof that with innovative thinking any negative situation can be turned into an opportunity. In this case, one of the consequences of the cancellations of events was turned around for the benefit of the sector of arts and culture, which saw its opportunities for expression considerably limited due to the pandemic.



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