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The Baltimore Sun

Melbourne, Australia

Place: Melbourne, Australia Why it's a hot ticket for 2009: For reasons nobody can fully explain, oft-overlooked Melbourne has emerged in recent years as one of the world capitals of street art, a rival to cities such as Berlin and London. The sheer volume of it is staggering and impossible to miss. The walls, even in and around the city's central business district, are adorned with spray paintings of playful robots and kung fu fighters, political figures and pop culture icons, cartoonish creatures and pretty ladies. Jake Smallman, one of the authors of "Stencil Graffiti Capital: Melbourne," speculates it has something to do with the huge number of dark alleyways (good cover for spray painting in the wee hours) that wend through the city center. "There are just as many alleys as main roads in Melbourne," he said, noting that while the street art started appearing in the 1980s, it has "exploded in the last 10 years." Read more on . Information: www.australia.com -- Hope Hamashige Picutured: An artist-run Citylights installation on Hosier Lane, Melbourne Hope Hamashige
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