MURAL Festival's 5th Edition in high gear on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Old Montreal
The Montreal MURAL Festival's 5th Edition is now in high gear on Boulevard Saint-Laurent featuring art exhibitions, block parties, and live entertainment.The program of activities buttresses the festival's star attraction, murals painted in real time on building walls by renowned international and local artists. For the price of a general admission ticket ($18.39, including taxes and service fees), mural enthusiasts can choose from over 30 tours in both French and English for the duration of 90 minutes and learn about the muralists and their works, as well as the inspiration and techniques that go into making these fantastic images which are fast becoming a calling card for Montreal's panache all over the globe.Those who prefer a less organized approach can always meander along the streets and take in the permanent exhibit of dozens of murals that are an integral part of the urban landscape free of charge.
This year the festival has taken the usual frenetic round of fun-filled activities to a new location. "We've extended the main zone to Old Montreal," says Davi Tohinnou, the media contact for LNDMRK the promoter and co-sponsor of MURAL with the société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent (SDBSL). Marché Bonsecours, one of Canada's top ten heritage buildings is serving as the hub for the Foire D'Art Mural (FAM). The art fair in its third year will showcase more than 100 contemporary artworks by 16 artists in addition to the large-scale wall paintings. Tohinnou notes that Rue de la Commune and Rue SaintPaul where the market is located will be closed off to drivers in what was once the cobblestone old sector. On an ironic note, Montreal's patrimony was paved over last year as part of an upgrade of the city's infrastructure with the 375th-anniversary celebrations in mind.
This year Spanish-inspired mural artist Ricardo Cavolo is back. His firebrand aesthetics telling personified stories with eyes as the centerpiece were a hit at MURAL a few years ago.The monumental images of warrior women created by selfdescribed "artful vandal" MissMe an anonymous street artist who works under cover at night and has had global success will also be on display. The artist Pony whose colorful "anti-vandalism" panels graced vacant store windows on The Main last year is part of this year's impressive line-up. Zoltan another veteran of the festival was spotted on The Boulevard only this time he was doing decorative painting on a small refrigerator outside the SuWu Night Club to entice passers-by at the Frénésie de la Main street fair to come inside and check out his more extensive work on the bar and other artifacts.
A study commissioned by the SDBSL last year tracking cell phone use on its territory identified 1.5 million unique visitors to the MURAL Festival site over 11 days. The huge draw had numerous spinoff benefits for merchants in the area and many restaurants are providing special offers to MURAL participants again this year. Producer and promoter of the Just For Laughs/Juste Pour Rire comedy festival brand Gilbert Rozon hosted a specialVIP event while the soundtrack for MURAL is being provided by îlesoniq and MUTEK Montréal. MURAL's opening ceremonies kick-started a fabulously festive weekend in conjunction with Montreal's F1 Grand Prix, the Montreal St.-Ambroise Fringe Festival, an offbroadway, repertory, dance, and music festival, along with Les FrancoFolies near Place des Arts in the downtown area known as the Quartiers des Spectacles.
One thing is for sure: there is no lack of diversity of entertainment and cultural enrichment come summertime in Montreal. With its ever-expanding portfolio of more than 80 murals and art installations, MURAL provides a platform for street artists and professional muralists alike, musicians, art lovers and the merely curious to come together to experience art in new and exciting ways making Montreal an art destination of choice.