Over one weekend, 5–7 November 2021, 15 urban artists will transform the built environment of Braddon and Civic, Canberra. Hosted by the ACT Government and curated by acclaimed graff artist PHIBS, Surface is a festival of urban art in the ACT that celebrates the raw energy and rich diversity of this scene: think graffiti, murals, portraits, stencils, paste-ups, light sculptures, and abstract works, each with a clear message. Urban art is as integral to the city infrastructure as bus lanes and the banking district, a cultural marker in time. Like Verdigris on copper, it forms a patina to urban life, striating the 9–5 with raw expression, city walls as urban galleries hung with reaction, rebellion and story. Urban environments are made up of historical, social, environmental, and cultural layers, contours of life that signpost humanity’s story. On the surface is a landscape of visual imagery that spools around us, from billboards and screens to light, sculpture, and paint, melding with the built environment as skin softens to bones. ACT Surface Festival channels contemporary placemaking, urban cultural renewal, and community connection. It explores and broadens existing notions of artmaking and asks us to think about art and its role as a cultural compass, both on and off the street.