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The event of the summer is back. Put on your dancing shoes and, uh, mural-enjoying eyes.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Vancouver Mural Fest is the most wonderful time of the year and we absolutely insist on co-opting the iconic Christmas carol to prove it if we have to.
Though the big centrepiece street festival takes over Mount Pleasant the weekend of August 12, the fest itself runs for 10 glorious days and kicks off tonight. From August 4 to August 13, 20 new murals will be unveiled, and super-fun events will be unleashed across the city. Today, a Public Disco Pride dance party and by-donation mural tours; the weekend, an all-ages, licensed makers market complete with the city’s best DJs. All told, it’s a vibrant, people-packed counterpoint to the city’s “No Fun City” rep—and we can’t wait to soak up all the art and party vibes.
Of course, between the DJ’d barbecue “day parties” and alleyway group art exhibitions, there are plenty of stunning, oversized artworks to enjoy. The 2023 edition of VMF once again features brand new murals in various Vancouver neighbourhoods, but this year, the fest is expanding its reach to the ‘burbs, too, with pieces adorning the walls of Richmond, Burnaby, and North Vancouver buildings. These new creations bring the total of VMF murals to more than 400, begging the question: will there be any blank walls left for next year?
Among the talented artists contributing to this year’s festival, Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist Jacquie Comrie stands out for her dynamic exploration of colour science. Comrie’s monumental mural in Yaletown, commissioned by GWL Realty and sponsored by Yaletown BIA, explores mental wellbeing and quality of life in vibrant hues.
Over at the BCIT Burnaby campus, Musqueam artist Kelly Cannell—known for her sophisticated contemporary Coast Salish style—will produce a large mural titled Keepers of the Land, portrays the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
Honoring the rich history of the West End, Hawaii-born Polynesian artist JNasty will paint Eihu Lane, the final installation of the West End Laneway Mural Series. JNasty blends his signature graffiti style with the ancient art of Polynesian tattooing, paying tribute to Hawaiian settler Eihu, one of the original settlers on Coal Harbour’s south shore, near Stanley Park.
Capping it all off will be the now-iconic Mount Pleasant Street Party; expect DJs, live music, food trucks, a beer garden, artisanal markets, and more, spread across five zones at the iconic City Centre Artist Lodge and surrounding streets.
Plan your perfect Mural Fest Season with the event schedule (and download the updated mural map!) at vanmuralfest.ca