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Surround Sound on Plein 40-45 - Bringing a neighbourhood market to life

On Saturday 16th of October the official participatory construction of the first part of SURROUND SOUND has commenced. It is a brand new colourful urban art project in Amsterdam Nieuw-West realised at an international collaboration level between the Bloomberg Philantropies, Gemeente Amsterdam and Stadsdeel Nieuw-West, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (AFK), Street Art Museum Amsterdam together with the artist KENOR (ES) and local artists and residents. Each partner did a great job in order to achieve the largest participatory artwork in the entire city. As the key word was “social participation”, this collaboration couldn’t be completed without the local residents of the neighbourhood and around the square, who took direct part in the process.

The "pre-production" had already begun one week before the Kick Off, when several volunteers and local artists, including Keys Art, started to prepare all the necessary material, to set the location, to do information table and, given the good weather, also to lay the primer and the first base of the painting's colours, following the instructions from KENOR.

This was owing to the weather - finally the Indian Summer has come back to Amsterdam and we had a spell of 4 sunny days - and the fact that Amsterdam would be the 3rd city in Bloomberg's ACCESS program this year to have commenced a monumental life-changing asphalt art program, next to Glasgow and London. The stakeholders wanted to make a small film documenting the work in progress with an idea of broadcasting during United Nations conference on Sustainable Goals in November 2021.

Our idea was to prepare the field so that local children, families, elderly in fact anyone passing by or using the square, could join in on production of the artwork freely, with enthusiasm and excitement.

During the actual participatory production, lead by KENOR and local artists, a great event started on Plein 40-45: both children and adults were invited to join the action with, so that everyone was welcomed to paint and have fun! Also students from VrijUniversity, semester in Amsterdam program, were first given a tour around SAMA’s artworks collection and then introduced to the artist and his work, as well as had the opportunity to paint together. The whole event was filmed by Bloomberg's film crew, who also interviewed the residents, deputy mayor for arts & culture Touria Meliani, Kenor and the founder of the Street Art Museum Amsterdam.

More than 50 people joined in by the end of the day. The artwork spread from wooden benches onto the flower beds and run away with the rays of lights onto the asphalt. Everybody helped and felt gratified at the end of a busy and colourful day, full of music from DJ Samidi and Elvis of No Spang and balloons from Clown Iwan.


Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works with mayors in cities all over the world. The main aim of the association is basically to improve the life quality of millions of people in 810 cities of 170 countries focusing on five key areas: arts, education, the local environment, government innovation and public health. All this information given, SURROUND SOUND project falls within its area of ​​expertise and action involving street art as a means of social dialogue, participation and a way of beautifying and implementing the quality of life of Nieuw-West Amsterdam.

Gemeente Amsterdam

The implementation plan sets out the first practical action ensuing from the policy agreed in the 2018-2022 Coalition agreement, titled ‘A new spring and a new voice’. By explaining our plans, the city government wishes to involve Amsterdammers in their implementation. We want to be open and transparent, and to work together. What kind of a city do we want to create? The implementation plan describes the six ambitions that the city government aims to pursue, and everyone in Amsterdam is invited to have their say.

Plein 40-45

Wijzijn Plein '40-'45 (We are Plein '40-'45) is a neighborhood coalition of residents, entrepreneurs and the Nieuw-West district committing together to create a beautiful and fun neighborhood for everyone, but most of all for its inhabitants in order to make them feel welcome and at home. Adhering to the C.Iaone and S. Foster’s forms of governance and collaboration called Co-City approach, the partners and the residents meet at various times on and around a ‘common’, such as the Square '40-'45 and the surrounding area to develop several social activities to get to know each other, events and campaigns to make the neighborhood vivant, engaged and pleasant. As far as SURROUND SOUND is concerned, we can easily infer the task of Wijzijn Plein '40-'45 as host location in the inclusive project for the inhabitants of Nieuw West.

The artist KENOR

Kenor (1976) is a world-wide acclaimed artist whose sign of recognition consists of his sprightly and energic geometric abstract work together with the ability to transcribe techno beats into a dynamic, colorful composition of electrifying rays of light.

“In the same way that the beat forms the rhythm of the song, the set of lines and their colors build the rhythm of the work. Thus, a melody or a change of rhythm is related to each set of lines and colors.” - Leon Ka aka KafreHe

Born in Barcelona, Kenor started his artistic practice with his father who is a craftsman and photographer. From his father he inherited a “photographer’s eye” which to this day he is still incredibly proud of. Kenor began his graffiti practice in Barcelona in 1990. Originally fascinated with typography and logos, his style began to change under the influence of the art scene in Barcelona, which is known for its bright colors that reflect the exuberance of the inhabitants. He began painting in the 1990s, as a result of watching Barcelona’s decaying landscape and his fascination for the walls - their skins, their textures - and the connection with people and their social background. He grew up between the contrast of the urban surroundings of a large city and the valleys of the south of Spain, where his family originally comes from, a mix that is an infinite source of inspiration and which could explain his eclectic yet organic mix of rhythm and aesthetics.

To learn more information about the artist check the following link:

Amsterdam Street Art

Due to a huge dedication and love for street art, a group of creatives set up ASA in 2010. Now, 10 years later, they created a worldwide platform where they bridge the gap between artists and people. ASA apply to everyone who shares the love for street art or likes to learn more about the art form. It is their goal to contribute that street art gets the recognition it deserves. ASA organises exhibitions, guerrilla actions, street art events and set up on-of-a-kind projects to give street art a boost. Besides that, the collective functions as an agency to connect artists to events and commercial companies.

Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA)

Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) is a contemporary eco-museum, focused on the identity of the immediate environment in connection with local participation and aimed at improving the development and quality of life of the local community, using street art as a tool to social dialogue. With around 300 art pieces in a growing collection by a varied spectrum of international and local artists, the museum exhibits a complete collection that is part of Amsterdam Nieuw-West and adds quality value to the neighborhood for the last seven years. By being freely accessible and in direct contact with the local population, SAMA’s collection is daily lived in by the residents of Nieuw-West, creating an emotional and historical connection between the artworks and the community. Its goal is to continue functioning as a community eco-museum focusing on innovative solutions using art as a tool for a dialogue between the residents and their immediate environment. For the SURROUND SOUND project SAMA called to action the world renowned internationally acclaimed artist from Barcelona KENOR who came to Amsterdam to beautify with his incredible talent the main square of Amsterdam Nieuw-West. It wasn't the fist time KENOR worked with SAMA, indeed the result of these meetings were 4 magnificent artworks: Hope, Trilogie de l'Unité, Accelerated minds and Genesis.

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