Street Art Hunting
Instagram and the Gamification of Creative Placemaking
The large scale and public nature of murals are quick and easy social media subject matter for visitors to broadcast their discoveries to the world and claim an authentic experience of a special time and place. Wide access to digital photography and social media—Instagram in particular—delivers a game‑like social experience of “hide‑and‑seek” for street art lovers, cultivating a sense of intimacy with the murals, the artists, and connection to the larger community. This paper explores the unwritten rules of the game through the lens of a case study in Phoenix, Arizona. It unveils the ways in which creative placemaking is fostered through the spontaneous emergence of digital and physical interactions between artists and their audiences, without interference from social organizations or public officials. This position paper ultimately argues that self-organizing, grass roots community arts activities may be more inclusive, egalitarian, and potent than institutionally-driven creative placemaking efforts.