The Mural Festival: how art in public spaces energises locals and tourists

The Mural Festival: how art in public spaces energises locals and tourists

Sunday July 15, 2018,

2 min Read

In Part I of this photo essay, we showcase the diverse range of outdoor art at Montreal’s annual Mural Festival, along with other installations and even window displays.

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 220 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

The city of Montreal has been hosting the annual Mural Festival since 2012 (see my earlier essays on the editions from 2017, 2016, 2015). The vision of the festival is to democratise urban art, and has even been described as ‘a love letter from Montreal to the world.’

This international festival is now a major celebration of creativity, and is a powerful draw for locals and tourists alike. The artist lineup this year includes Ben Eine (UK), Cryptik (Los Angeles), ASVP (Brooklyn), Jeremy Shantz (Canada), Kate Raudenbush (New York), Le Monstr (France), Demsky (Spain), and Saner (Mexico).

The paintings are completed over a period of eleven days, but can be viewed throughout the year; some of the buildings are re-painted in a year or two. A long stretch of Boulevard Saint Laurent is closed off to traffic during the festival as the area comes alive with music and food.

In this photo essay, we showcase some of the murals in neighbourhoods along Boulevard Saint-Laurent, along with other public installations and even window displays. The wall spaces are contributed by local communities and government agencies, with clearly defined rules on exhibit duration and themes. There even is an initiative to bring art to hospitals for creating a better environment, as seen at Hospital Sainte-Justine.

Pierre-Alain Benoit, Director General of Mural Festival, joins us in an interview in Part II of this essay with insights on visual art and its role in the larger urban culture; Kathy Malas, Head of Innovation at the hospital CHU Sainte-Justine, also shares perspectives on the role of art as communication and therapy in healthcare.

Now what have you done today to appreciate art in the streets and walls around your city, and promote mural works?

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at [email protected]!

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