British Columbia·Photos

Mount Pleasant gets wall dressed up for 2018 Vancouver Mural Fest

This week, artists are transforming unlikely canvases in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood into works of art for the Vancouver Mural Festival.

This year's event features even stronger focus on diversity and local artists, co-founder says

The start of a work for the 2018 Vancouver Mural Festival. (Andrea Curtis)

This week, artists are transforming unlikely canvases in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood into works of art for the Vancouver Mural Festival.

One highlight this year, a director with the festival says, is that the event will emphasize diversity more so than in the past.

Dozens of artists, mostly from Vancouver, will take part in the 2018 Vancouver Mural Festival. (Drew Young)

"We've always had at least 50 per cent women, women of colour and other nationalities," co-founder Andrea Curtis told Angela Sterritt, guest host of CBC's On The Coast.

"This year, we're really focusing on it in terms of our curators and their curations."

The festival says diversity has always been important but this year will see more steps in that direction. (Drew Young)

Curtis says this year's event will highlight women and Indigenous artists and ensure representation for non-gender binary artists and LGBT artists.

The festival is also defending itself against allegations it is too close with developers and business groups and acts as a tool of gentrification.

Artists will be working on pieces throughout Mount Pleasant this week. (Drew Young)

Curtis called that a "natural" reaction for Vancouverites to have while struggling with a housing crisis, but she denied that making the city less affordable was the festival's goal.

"We're all renters just like everybody else and we don't feel that should stop us from putting work into our neighbourhoods and continuing to show them love and create the neighbourhoods we want to live in," she said.

A completed work from the 2017 Vancouver Mural Festival. (Drew Young)

She added the festival aims to show what Vancouver's artists have to offer — 80 to 90 per cent of the artists featured during the event live or work in Vancouver, although an "impressive" roster of international artists will be creating as well.

In addition to the works on fences, walls and alleyways, the festival includes events like tours, artist talks and a street party.

The festival runs until Aug. 11.

Listen to the full interview:

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast 

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