We got a very important message for you

Posted by Bowie van Loon , 19 November 2021

Dear street art-fans and artists,

Four years after the Rotterdam edition of the international street art festival joined the worldwide POW! WOW! Family, the time has come for us to part ways. POW! WOW! Rotterdam will not be joining the current process of renaming the festivals under the Worldwide Walls umbrella. Instead, we have chosen to go independent and create a new name and branding for ourselves, to commemorate this new chapter in our history.

The decision has been made after our mother-organization committed to organize a future edition of the festival in Qatar. In this country, freedom of speech is rigorously curtailed, migrant workers are exploited under life-threatening conditions, and human rights abuses take place on a large and structural scale. We trust in the good intentions of our friends within the Worldwide Walls organization, but do not agree with their decision to set up an edition of the festival within this nation. 

We have been welcomed warmly within the awesome family formerly known as POW! WOW! Worldwide. The name was a reference to the colorful sound effects in comic books, as well as the traditional gatherings between certain Native American tribes in which they’d celebrate and exchange their cultures. At the time, we did not realize our taking up of this name caused hurt within some of these communities, for which we offer our apologies. It is one of many things we have come to learn about in the past four years.

We are nothing but thankful for everything our partnership with the organization now known as Worldwide Walls has taught us. Four years ago, we started as the young, brash little cousin. Now we have grown into a young adult, whose time has come to explore the world on one’s own. The love hasn’t cooled, but the time has come to stand on our own two legs. Our sincere thanks to Worldwide Walls and the trust and opportunities granted to us in prior years. We wish all our colleague festivals nothing but the best in the future! 

Soon we will return for ourselves. With a new name, an a new logo, and the established strengths of our organization: making Rotterdam look nicer with each step, and offering a stage to be shared by both renowned and upcoming artists. Mark it on your calendar: your favorite street art festival will be returning to its hometown of Rotterdam in September next year! We’re ready for our next step. Are you?

Talk to you soon!

One love, 

Team f.k.a. POW! WOW! Rotterdam.