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FOR STREET artists, Buenos Aires is heaven, a city that celebrates the painting of large-scale murals.

Huge splashes of color, everything from political satire to whimsical creatures, climb across buildings in neighborhoods poor and rich. Urban artists from Argentina and around the world use aerosol spray, and sometimes oil or acrylic paints, to create the massive outdoor murals on everything from upscale apartment blocks and bridge supports to dividing walls and abandoned buildings.

In the city’s Palermo neighborhood, a man with a shopping cart trudges in front of a street painting by Alfredo Segatori. The Argentine artist, nicknamed El Pelado — “the bald one” — has painted murals for more than 20 years around the city (see

Unlike many cities, Buenos Aires welcomes the murals, an outgrowth of graffiti art. Local authorities sometimes offer subsidies; building owners are open to having their properties painted.

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Visitors can tour the street art by van, walking or bike. It’s an offbeat way to see a vibrant city.

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at