Calgary mural festival kicks off month of new urban artworks

·2 min read
A mural in downtown Calgary created by Canadian artist Ola Volo for the 2020 BUMP Festival. (Terri Trembath/CBC - image credit)
A mural in downtown Calgary created by Canadian artist Ola Volo for the 2020 BUMP Festival. (Terri Trembath/CBC - image credit)

The Beltline Urban Mural Project, or BUMP, puts on a mural festival every August, inviting local, national and international artists to leave their mark on Calgary's streets. This year's festival launched on Saturday with a party at Central Memorial Park.

Priya R, BUMP's marketing manager, said this year the organization is putting up 70 murals, 50 of which will appear on road barriers.

"We really want to tell Calgarians that there's a lot happening here," she said.

"We're a tipping point city. There's something brewing here, especially with the artists."

Rachel Maclean/CBC
Rachel Maclean/CBC

While BUMP began in the Beltline area in 2017, the murals that the organization has funded have expanded to many neighbourhoods throughout the city. The murals being created this year will be in 11 communities in Calgary.

Creating connections, bringing people together

The BUMP Festival is an opportunity for artists to network and get inspired by each other.

Wenting Li is a Toronto artist who flew into Calgary Monday is creating her second ever large outdoor mural project — her first in Toronto's Chinatown.

While Li said she feels like she has a lot more to learn about large mural making, the process is "always really chaotic and exciting."

The mural Li is painting will be about both "the anxiety of living at the end times" and new beginnings, the artist said. It will depict a rider on a demon steed.

Terri Trembath/CBC
Terri Trembath/CBC

Li says there's something beautiful about murals as an art form as they may be temporary and not have a long lifespan.

"During that lifetime it gets to be experienced by the people who are in that neighbourhood or community," she said.

Kyrsten Lofts, an Edmonton artist, is assisting Li in creating her mural. Lofts said it's great to see so much public artwork being created in Calgary through the festival.

"I love to turn a corner and see a mural and to have it be a hotspot for people to take pictures at or just to walk by and kind of be taken aback by, 'Oh there's art on this backstreet wall!'" she said.

"It just makes everything a lot more exciting and it brings people together to make them too."

BUMP has multiple events planned this month to bring art and music to public spaces across the city.

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