A Tale of Many Murals

Artist: Tyler Toews
Photographer: David Gluns

We’ve had a lot of questions about the murals around town: which ones are part of Nelson International Mural Festival? Where do the other murals come from? What is the process for these public art pieces?

The incredible ‘Heart of the Community” mural by Tyler Toews/Canadian Murals that adorns City Hall is in fact not a part of Nelson International Mural Festival but is a commission project supported by the Nelson & District Arts Council, Columbia Basin Trust, and the City of Nelson.

So what’s the difference between a festival mural and a commissioned piece?

Artists who paint for Nelson International Mural Festival are given creative freedom when designing their pieces. To paint in the festival, artists submit an application to NIMF’s annual open call. The applicants are then vetted by the NIMF curator and a 5 member arms-length jury made up of large-scale artists, members of the business community, curators, and representatives from the city. The top artists are then matched with building owners based on artistic genre (abstract, trompe l’oeil, etc.)

Artists who paint a commission are often (but not always) asked to create something specific by the wall owner. Sometimes there is an RFP process for commission projects, sometimes the artist is hand-selected by the wall owner to complete a specific project. Commission projects also have different funding sources than the festival.

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