Festival blankets the city with creativity

Wall-to-Wall Mural & Culture Festival brings artistic array to all for sixth year

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Summer may be cooling off, but Wall-to-Wall fest is heating up the local art scene.

Winnipeg’s sixth annual Wall-to-Wall Mural & Culture Festival — run by Synonym Art Consultation in collaboration with Graffiti Art Programming Inc. — runs throughout September.

Wall-To-Wall seeks to nurture and grow Winnipeg’s art and music scene through accessible events. Fourteen new murals will be created throughout the city during the festival, including two by local artists Annie Beach and Peatr Thomas.

The festival was co-founded by Chloe Chafe and Andrew Eastman of curatorial collective Synonym Art Consultation.

Wall-to-Wall began in West Broadway with murals and other art venues and has grown to other neighbourhoods across Winnipeg.

“Through collaboration [we] just started bringing more and more people on, specifically in terms of artists, there was only a very small handful of artists in Winnipeg who were skilled to paint murals,” said Eastman.

“We felt that there was room to bring up more voices and get more people’s art up on the walls.”

Eastman and his collaborators would encourage artists to transform their sketches into large-scale murals and help them acquire the skills they needed through Graffiti Art Programming Inc.’s mentorship programs.

“We sort of brought people up from that sketchbook drawing level to now being able to paint huge buildings with us, so now the diversity and visual identity and the voices of artistic expression in the city through murals are very heightened,” said Eastman.

The Wall-to-Wall festival also offers free music and art workshops for young people to attract more artistic collaborators.

Wall-to-Wall has facilitated public art to spread from a few isolated areas through downtown and into the North End. According to Eastman, neighbourhood identity grows through these public works and gives people and groups the opportunity to tell their own stories and share them publically.

“Each individual neighbourhood has such a distinct identity and a distinct community,” he said.

Artists from across Canada, Indigenous creators and even international artists are involved.

“We also do lots of consultations with Indigenous elders on certain projects to make sure that the images that we’re bringing are aligning what the community and these elders want to see in the community,” said Eastman.

“Right now, honestly, our Indigenous art scene in Winnipeg is blowing up and these are the artists that have the voices and have the vision that need to be shared.”

In a way, Wall-to-Wall, Nuit Blanche Winnipeg and other fall festivals can be seen as the final defiance against the infamously difficult Winnipeg winter, when many creators and artists are forced to create works indoors.

Wall-to-Wall gives the city a chance to build community and embrace outdoor public art before the snow falls. The festival culminates with a block-party celebration during Nuit Blanche on Sept. 28.

Wall-to-Wall continues throughout the city with various art and music events until Sept. 28.

For more information visit walltowallwpg.com.