The city’s largest public art festival, the Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF), is back in full force for its sixth consecutive year, with more than 100 works of art and live events to discover this summer.
From August 4 to 22, more than 60 new murals will be painted and unveiled in 11 different neighborhoods. VMF will also host daily wall tours, in-person and online public talks, and over 40 live performances in a pop-up outdoor patio in the festival’s original home, Mount Pleasant.
“This year we have tons of new teams, new neighborhoods and a new generation of talented artists – I’m over the moon, ”said Andrea Curtis, VMF Executive Director in an interview with Daily Hive.
“We identified early on that part of the VMF status quo is constant change, learning and evolution.
“Seeing what this team does each year is always enough to make my head spin. What’s even more exciting is the neighborhood and community response to new public artwork.
In addition to Mount Pleasant, murals will be created in Cambie Village, Downtown, Edgemont Village, Hogan’s Alley, Marpole, Punjabi Market, River District, South Granville, Strathcona and the West End.
“We are huge fans of continuing to work together and build relationships with existing neighborhoods while making room to attract new partners,” said Curtis.
“It says a lot about the work of artists and the response of our communities that new neighborhoods want to reach every year.
“The murals in the alleys make them feel more secure. Favorite murals on buildings encourage architects and developers to adjust their building plans. Backdrops of art on our favorite terraces, routes to work and views from home or office windows color our lives and tell our stories. Investing in public art during the pandemic has been very beneficial as our outdoor urban spaces have become our default areas where we can safely spend time together. Bringing joy to these regions has been an honor and a privilege in these times. “
After exploring the city’s new murals, check out the VMF Pop-Up Patio presented by Granville Island Brewing. The licensed outdoor site features over 40 live shows over three weeks, as well as Brunch Club events on weekends.
Programming includes live music, drag, burlesque, graffiti jams and more, with a focus on emerging local artists from under-represented communities. VMF Pop-Up Patio presented by Granville Island Brewing is produced in partnership with guest curators and collectives. Details on performances and tickets will be announced on July 7.
The 21-day festival program also includes daily guided tours of murals, a Black Strathcona Resurgence Project bike tour, in-person and online art and culture talks, and mural artists painting throughout town. Learn more about the murals, events and activities on the free VMF application.
The core value of VMF is to present and collaborate with under-represented and marginalized groups including BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S + and young people. This is highlighted in this year’s community projects which include BSRP, Punjabi market: murals in the market and Coverage of the city IV: cathedral square.
Cover the city is a series of public art murals and a reconciliation process designed by renowned x tissməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) weaver and graphic designer, Debra Sparrow, in collaboration with the Vancouver Mural Festival.
“Cover the city is an honor to our people here, ”said Sparrow. “It’s a reflection of how we identify with ourselves and the importance of blankets in Musqueam culture and in every aspect of our life and history. It is about our values, our position.
According to VMF, Coverage of the city IV: cathedral square is the first large-scale semi-permanent public art collaboration between weavers from the three local nations – xʷməθk̓əy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx7wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl’ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) – in over 200 years. Joining Sparrow in creating the massive artwork are Chef Janice George and Angela George.
“We have woven our way through town, starting at Granville Island, heading towards 12th and Kingsway, then heading straight into the deep end of town. It’s so amazing for us, ”explained Sparrow. “Hbefore taking wires and wrapping them around these cylinders (in the cathedral square park) to reflect the common histories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, and it’s really important for the three of us weavers to come together.
“For all who see it, I hope people have a sense of inclusion and a sense of calm when we watch Coverage of the city IV: cathedral square and all the other frescoes too. These murals feel like inviting you to have a conversation. We need to have a conversation with each other now, that’s what art does. This brings you back to the important depth of who we are as human beings. It is a spiritual place and hopefully this is where we can go.
DOWNLOAD THE VMF MOBILE APPLICATION to find and explore over 300 murals, including over 60 new murals, across the city. Visit https://vanmuralfest.ca/ and follow @vanmuralfest for more details, the calendar of events and updates for the Vancouver Mural Festival 2021 (August 4-22).
Daily Hive is a proud media partner of the Vancouver Mural Festival 2021