16 new murals brighten up Calgary's Beltline district

Sixteen new colourful murals are appearing on the sides of buildings and alleyways in Calgary's Beltline this week.

It's part of the 3rd-annual Beltline Urban Murals Project Festival

Calgary artist The Kid Belo works on a piece in a Beltline alleyway. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Sixteen new colourful murals are appearing on the sides of buildings and alleyways in Calgary's Beltline this week.

It's all part of the third-annual Beltline Urban Murals Project (BUMP) Festival which runs Aug. 28 to 31.

The festival includes artist talks, mural tours, alley parties and a movie screening — and most importantly sees local, national and international artists transform the neighbourhood into a colourful outdoor gallery.

David Brunning, a.k.a. The Kid Belo, has done a number of commissioned murals in the city for more than a decade — and actually offered advice to festival founders in its first year — but this is his first time participating in the festival himself.

Toronto artist Reza Nik in front of his mural at Brewster’s on 11th Avenue S.W. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

He said it's phenomenal to see the city welcoming artists.

"We have so many blank walls. Summertime's beautiful here. In the wintertime it gets white and brown. It can be really dull. But when you get colour on the walls, it does something to the community," he said. 

He said the best part of public art is that it's so accessible.

"Public art … allows me as an artist to be able to interact with the public without being there," he said. "They don't have to go into a gallery, they don't have to pay for it."

One of 16 new murals being painted in Calgary's Beltline as part of the 2019 BUMP Festival. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

"So many in the public are intrigued by it," artist Reza Nik said.

The new murals bring the neighbourhood's total up to 31.

Peter Oliver, the president of the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association, which hosts the festival, said businesses and Tourism Calgary have welcomed the murals bringing colour to the city.

And, the best part is that the murals are a permanent addition.

"The murals stay up indefinitely," he said. "Really, they'll be up as long as the buildings are up."

Peter Oliver with the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

For those who want to check out the festival schedule or tour the new works of art themselves, a printable map of old and new murals is available on the festival's website

Take a look at last year's murals below:

Mural festival looks to transform Calgary's Beltline

5 years ago
Duration 3:06
The BUMP (Beltline Urban Murals Project) Festival is bringing colour to Calgary.

With files from Dan McGarvey