Text: Melissa Hegge
As a resident in Tøyen for over ten years, I’ve seen my neighbourhood develop from an ugly duckling to its current state; a colourful teenager. This area in the central east part of Oslo is still in development, it is a bright, vibrant and diverse community. It is not a “destination neighbourhood” for tourists on the same level as Grünerløkka at this point. But I think it is for sure worth a visit when in Oslo, especially if you are into street art.
In this guide, the street art is the focus. I have been an Airbnb host since 2011, and I love sending my guest to this spots to discover my hood. So I have put together an art walk starting from Tøyen, walking through the area and ending up at Grønland. Follow it, and you will have a nice (downhill) walk and see it all.
You will find wall art many places over the city, but in Tøyen it is particularly dense. Why? Becuase it has a mission to be the most prominent outdoor art gallery.
A lot of it has to do with the society Urban Samtidskunst and the man Viktor Gjengaar. Without them, what you see would never have happened. They invite artist, help to curate and organise the making of the murals. The first wall went up in 2012 (INTI). Back then the initiative was private, and the cost of painting was possible with the help of sponsors. In 2013 Tøyen received a significant government grant from the state, called Tøyenløftet. Some as compensation that the areas main attraction, The Munch Museum is moving out and into a new building in Bjørvika in 2020.
It is a five-year area program that will help Tøyen to become an area you feel safe and inclusive in, with active residents who would like to live and stay here.
The change is visible. Both in its energy and the high number of cool cafes and bars that have popped up. The main square has gotten a much-needed facelift, and new business and start-ups have moved into the area. The grant has also lead to that art put up after 2015, has been supported by this grant. But some walls have been an initiative and paid for by the residents of the building themselves.
Personally, I think it is fantastic that we have this outdoor gallery when Munch leaves. Art to the people! And that is why I have assembled this route, so more people can discover it.