Nelson city council has approved $25,000 to the Nelson and District Arts Council over the next five years to support the International Mural Festival held in the city.
Nelson and District Arts Council had a successful year with an increase in the number of murals painted, staff hired and overall growth of the annual festival, according to its executive director
“We’ve grown a lot over the past few years,” says Sydney Black. “Our staffing numbers, murals and the amount of growth we’ve seen is astonishing.”
According to Black, there has been a lot of interest generated from the festival with artists coming from all over North America attending.
“We have a small spot on the international stage,” says Black. “Artists say they are used to painting on concrete jungles, whether it is Toronto or LA, and then they come here and are just blown away.”
Councillor Keith Page raised some concern about the proposal, saying more artists could mean the demand for more wall space for them to paint.
“There are great artists that have really brought Hall Street alive,” says Page. “How do we approach the growth, and it is necessarily a positive impact on our heritage city?”
Black was quick to address the issue concerning the importance of maintaining Nelson’s heritage and history.
“We completely avoid painting on heritage bricks,” says Black. “If we paint on brick it is because we have painted on there before. We are not transforming the heritage aspect.”
Black said the Nelson and District Arts Council is hoping that, with the funding they receive, the future will allow expansion into digital art, with augmented reality and other technological art forms.