David Vertesi and Gabriel Hall

Vancouver Magazine - - Cover Story -

NEW) CO-FOUNDERS, VAN­COU­VER MU­RAL FEST

Wall Flow­ers No fun city, no more —so say the co-founders of the Van­cou­ver Mu­ral Fes­ti­val (VMF), which launched in 2016. Bright colours and poignant slo­gans now line the walls of some of Van­cou­ver’s most-trod­den paths, en­gag­ing lo­cals and tourists alike. Now, Vertesi and Hall ac­knowl­edge the event has grown be­yond art, in­di­rectly plead­ing lo­cals’ case against redevelopment. Res­i­dents of the Mount Pleas­ant area live in hope that de­vel­op­ers will think twice be­fore knock­ing down build­ings that have be­come icons of the city.

“Af­ter only two years, I think the VMF has not only beauti‰ed Mount Pleas­ant but high­lighted the artis­tic tal­ent that calls Mount Pleas­ant home,” says Neil Wyles, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Mount Pleas­ant BIA. “This in turn has brought to the fore­front a dis­cus­sion about keep­ing the area a‘ord­able for the very peo­ple that make it in­ter­est­ing.” This year’s fes­ti­val saw more than 100,000 spec­ta­tors wan­der the streets of Mount Pleas­ant and Strath­cona, with more than 50 large-scale mu­rals be­ing added to the city’s cul­ture scene.

With this year’s themes trans­form­ing and re­claim­ing laneways, des­tig­ma­tiz­ing gra”ti art and sup­port­ing In­dige­nous place­mak­ing, all eyes are on Vertesi and Hall and their plans to raise the bar even higher in 2018.

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