MU­RAL Fes­ti­val's 5th Edi­tion in high gear on Boule­vard Saint-Laurent, Old Mon­treal

Montreal Times - - News -

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.

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