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We Bombed A Zoo: Italian Street Artists Take Over An Abandoned Zoo, Make It Awesome
November 8, 2012
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What happens to a zoo once it goes out of business?

Sometimes, apparently, Matt Damon buys it.

But in other cases (like Los Angeles' Griffith Park zoo), the animals are transported away, and the land, buildings and cages are abandoned to rust and decay.

When the Parco Michelotti zoo in Turin, Italy shut down, it seemed like it might meet the same fate. For a while, the facility wasn't being used for much aside from the occasional dance party.

Until this year, when a group of streets artists took over. Now the zoo has been reborn as the Street Art Museum.

Check out a video tour (set to some Nine Inch Nails, because why not?) below:

As you might expect, a lot of the artwork that's gone up in the former zoo is animal-themed. Some cages have been repopulated with much, much crazier zebras:

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And at least one lemur is hanging out on a wall.

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But there's also some straight-up graffiti writing in evidence:

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The Street Art Museum is part of the BorderLand project, which aims to make unused urban spaces more welcoming to the public. They even offer free wi-fi on the zoo grounds to entice people inside.

Check out their site right here (it's in Italian, but you'll get the general idea).

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Nowadays, most walls inside the zoo grounds have artwork on them. The pieces were created by a variety of painters and writers, most of them from Italy.

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The goals of the project are to improve the image of the park, attract more visitors, raise the profile of street art and the artists who create it, and to help prevent speculators from buying the land.

This video shows some of the artwork being created this past summer:

The Street Art Museum isn't the only initiative going on at Parco Michelotti.

Back in 2010, the city of Turin decided to try to revitalize the former zoo - they opened a small restaurant, planned film screenings and theatre performances, and turned parts of the park into event venues for public use.

And there are plans in the works to make the park into a sustainable green area, with wind, geothermal and photovoltaic solar power. According to the proposal, that green energy would power laboratories, a library, a theatre and sports facilities.

At the moment, the green park is still in the planning phase - but it all sounds like a pretty great way to make up for the lack of animals at the former zoo.

Related:

AWESOME THING OF THE DAY: JR's Pervasive Street Art

IMAGES OF THE DAY: Playful Street Art In Malaysia

Google + Graffiti = Awesome Street Art Project

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