by Theresa Gunkel
VANCOUVER – “A vessel of culture.” This is how David Vertesi describes the murals in the streets of Vancouver. The young musician is the co-founder and executive director of the annual Vancouver Mural Festival, which is in its second year taking place from August 7 until 12. BeatRoute talked to Vertesi about this year’s celebrations, which will not only include the transformation of over 50 walls across Strathcona and Mount Pleasant into huge works of art, but also feature live music, walking tours, street parties, and a variety of artist-led talks.
The festival’s purpose, according to Vertesi, is to make people recognize the young and energized culture scene of the city. “We would like to see Vancouver identifying as an arts and a cultural hub,” he says. The event already kicked off with a street festival in Strathcona where a building covered in murals was unveiled. Vertesi describes the work of his team as event-based art-activism. “We are trying to give people eventful experiences with art and culture to give them a feeling to be a part of what is happening.”
The event team’s main tasks are to fill in bureaucratic holes, as well as pick the right participants out of over 350 applications. “We always look at the art first but we think that it is also important to empower a broad range of artists to express their stories,” says Vertesi. This year, they especially encouraged First Nations and female artists to participate in the festival — artists like Bracken Hanuse Corlett and Jeska Slater will be making contributions. The team is excited about the works and hoping for the same amount of positive feedback as last year.
“Art in public space makes people feel like their neighbourhood got infused with energy and simply feels more alive,” says Vertesi. “They have their heads up looking at the murals, not just at their phones.”
Vancouver Mural Festival takes places from August 7 – 12 throughout the city.street art, Vancouver Mural Festival