Vancouver Mural Festival. Would have given this a miss, assuming it was another generic Main Street corporate festival. Someone dragged me out. And what I actually walked into was a thriving, back alley warren of creative magic. Fuelled by art, supported by an enormous community spirit. The real deal.
From the graffiti artist spraying his heart and mind onto concrete in front of our eyes (fuck Instagram), to the guy from Phantoms in the Front Yard taking the time to answer my questions about the stunning collective piece that covered an entire block, to the brothers from Schwey, sending out their sweet soul vibe, to the multitudes of parents meandering through back alleys with their curious kids and teaching them that art doesn't just live in galleries, to the cool kids breakdancing in the beer garden, to the friends encountered by chance, all of us chatting excitedly about what we were witnessing, laughing at the sheer joy of being in each other's company.
An afternoon to remember. At a festival that reminded me that art is life affirming, in all it's incarnations. That it has the power to heal and galvanize and mobilize communities. That It encourages us to think and feel and question everything. Compassionate and tolerant in it's very nature. And It is the ultimate equalizer, because it is by the people, for the people.
Experiencing this festival filled me with gratitude and humility to be an artist in this beautiful city. And reminded me that, yes, hell yes, ART MATTERS.
Thank you Vancouver Mural Fest. See you next year...