Participating local artists Mark Illing & Tierney Milne in front of a previously completed mural on the Irish heather in Gastown.
Photo by: Dylan Hamm / @dylanhamm /

April 17, 2020 (Vancouver, BC) – Vancouver Mural Festival is teaming up with local artists and business improvement associations to create the city’s largest collection to date of murals on storefronts boarded up due to the impact of COVID-19. Starting today, the first wave of murals will go up over the next week, throughout 40 locations across Downtown , Robson Stree t, & South Granville and will feature images intended to spark joy, inspire hope and celebrate resilience .

“Connecting and supporting local artists and communities is at the core of what VMF is about. When we saw this opportunity for art to bring artists and businesses together in support of our neighbourhoods, we knew we had to take action”
– David Vertesi, Executive Director, Vancouver Mural Festival

A few weeks ago, as local grassroots art projects began popping up on boarded up businesses in Gastown and the Downtown Eastside, VMF approached some of the City’s other impacted neighbourhoods to see if there was an opportunity to collaborate. The result is these 40 murals with all artists paid and their supplies covered thanks to the incredible support of the local BIAs as well as key funding from Vancity Credit Union who will be matching all artist honorariums. Paint is provided by the City of Vancouver’s Mural Support Program.

The team behind Vancouver Mural Festival has always believed in the power of public art to connect communities, inspire creativity, support artists, and bring smiles to everyday lives. Over the past 5 years, VMF has transformed blank walls in Mount Pleasant and throughout Greater Vancouver into over 200 murals by artists from our city and around the world.

VMF wishes to stress that City of Vancouver COVID-19 social distancing rules remain in effect. All artists will be following health and safety regulations. Please respect all guidelines for physical distancing. Follow the hashtag #makeartwhileapart to see the art in progress and the final before and after shots via the @vanmuralfest Instagram and Facebook as well as the other links below.

Vancouver Mural Festival: @vanmuralfest | Vancity: @vancitycu | Robson Street BIA: @robsonstreet |
Downtown Vancouver BIA: @downtownvan | South Granville BIA: @southgranville

About Vancouver Mural Festival:
Vancouver Mural Festival was founded in 2016 around a vision of transforming the way art is seen in our city. Produced by Create Vancouver Society, a registered Provincial Non-Profit dedicated to artistic and cultural development, we provide a platform for Vancouver’s diverse artists to contribute to the city’s legacy through the creation of large-scale public murals. Our annual festival held every August in Mount Pleasant brings together the community to celebrate the creativity and diversity of our city. We also work throughout the year with communities around the Lower Mainland to highlight the local culture and vibrance of their area. Our events and public art installations serve as catalysts for addressing many of the socio-cultural issues facing our city and artistic communities. We recognize that our event and murals are produced on the traditional unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. We strive to incorporate the visual culture of these nations in our festival.


“Celebration of art has long been at the core of South Granville’s neighbourhood identity, so it’s only natural it is a part of our response to the current crisis. We are thrilled to join forces with the team at VMF and the other participating BIAs for this project and we are so grateful to the artists who are lending their talent to create a positive impact for our communities when we need it most.”
– Ivy Haisell, Executive Director, South Granville BIA

“Many local stores and restaurants may be temporarily closed for business due to COVID-19, but they remain open for inspiration. This project reinforces the importance of creativity, collaboration and hope in challenging times, and Vancity is proud to play a part in brightening up Vancouver’s streets and support the creative work of some of the city’s greatest mural artists.”
– Clayton Buckingham, Chief Financial Officer, Vancity.

“We were very excited to partner with Vancouver Mural Fest and our neighboring Business Improvement Associations to help create something beautiful in the midst of this unprecedented situation. This project supports our member businesses as well as our local artists, and although the murals will be temporary, we know that they’ll bring colour, culture, and fun to the streets of downtown Vancouver during these challenging times.”
– Charles Gauthier, CEO & President, Downtown Vancouver BIA

We are proud to partner with Vancouver Mural Fest, fellow neighbourhood BIAs and the City of Vancouver to support our local artists in bringing much-needed beauty, positivity and a sense of strength back to our community during this challenging time.
– Teri Smith, Executive Director, Robson Street BIA

“During this challenging time, it’s important that we do what we can to support, protect and uplift our communities. As part of our Mural Support Program we are pleased to be able to provide paint and supplies to local businesses and artists who are spearheading this valuable and inspiring community expression. Murals are an effective means to deter graffiti vandalism and have been used, as part of our graffiti management and stewardship strategy, to activate Vancouver’s public spaces since 2012.”
– Lisa Parker, Branch Manager of Street Activities, City of Vancouver

Goodbye Graffiti ™ is proud to support Vancouver Mural Festival in protecting the various COVID-19 murals throughout the city. Since our inception, Goodbye Graffiti ™ has been a supporter of sanctioned artwork. We are delighted to provide our permanent anti-graffiti coating to protect the work of the many talented artists uplifting our community during this time of need. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this pandemic. We are honoured to give back to the community that has supported us for so many years.
– Kendra Klemke – Vice President of Sales, Goodbye Graffiti ™