From the 30,000 year old animal murals in France’s Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave to Banksy’s Balloon Girl, murals have been part of our cultural landscape for thousands of years.
Nowadays, community murals are a mode of expression for artists in every graphic style imaginable: abstract, photorealistic, surrealist, expressionist and graffiti, to name just a few. Most recently, murals have become community centrepieces that bring people together to celebrate the heritage and history of their home.
Why else are murals important, you ask? Read on for our top three reasons!
Photo credit: Pavel Nekoranec via Unsplash
1. They create vibrant neighbourhoods that people want to visit, live in, and take care of
It’s no secret: murals make our neighbourhoods beautiful! They add colour to building walls and streets that would otherwise go unnoticed, which is a treat for locals and tourists alike. Murals attract new local businesses, help bring customers to pre-existing locations, and boost the economy of an area. Some cities even offer walking/biking public art tours as a great way to interact with a city and its art!
Shandon—a small district in Ireland—is a great example of how community murals can transform space. After years of decline and brain drain, the district began an interactive community mural and artistic history project called The Big Washup. The murals painted as part of this project celebrated and identified the city’s past, present, and future—and revitalised the residents and their community!
Photo credit: cturistando via Unsplash
2. Murals encourage you to slow down and admire your surroundings
Ever heard of Cittaslow or the slow movement? Inspired by the slow food movement in Europe, Cittaslow-certified cities encourage longer meal times in schools and workspaces, limit outdoor advertising and other visual clutter, put emphasis on local food initiatives like farmer’s markets, and promote relaxed, non-car transportation.
Part of slow living involves appreciating our surroundings and their beauty. This includes our forests, oceans, quaint streets, and yes, murals!
Photo credit: Delvon Duthie via Flickr, under a Creative Commons license
3. They create important conversations and expand thought
Murals also act as collective thought spaces. They can create dialogue around a subject or community issue through what they depict!
A great example of a dialogue-provoking mural project is American artist Wyland’s Whaling Walls. Over a 30 year period, Wyland painted 100 life-sized whale murals across the globe to help people appreciate our oceans through art. Some of these pieces were created on walls in British Columbia and Ontario!
These community murals add value to their neighbourhoods while also encouraging dialogue about how individuals can protect marine creatures that are ecologically and culturally important to many.
Photo credit: Patrick Tomasso via Unsplash
Join the conversation!
Are you an artist that works with paint? ReGeneration works with a variety of artists to provide them with free, high quality, pre-loved paint for art projects. Check out our recycling locator and select “Paint Reuse” to find pick-up locations for paint in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador and New Brunswick.
In British Columbia, Vancouver Mural Fest (VMF) has been beautifying Mount Pleasant and inspiring conversation in the city through community murals for the past 3 years. This year, VMF has commissioned 30 new murals, including pieces by Stō:lo/St’át’imc and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations artists.
Live in Vancouver? We are excited to be attending Vancouver Mural Fest’s Street Party from 12 – 6pm on August 11th. Visit our booth to enter to win a Vancouver Art Gallery membership and join the conversation (in person, or through our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) by telling us why being green is important to you!
Live in New Brunswick? Moncton’s Festival Inspire completed their 4th year of mural painting in July. Find a map with this year’s mural locations on their website!