Although approximately 100,000 people are expected to flock to the Main Street area this Saturday (August 20) to take in the 40-plus murals being installed as part of the first-ever Vancouver Mural Festival, Mount Pleasant isn’t the only ’hood getting its public-art on.
In South Granville, a mural program initiated by Stable House Bistro owners and the South Granville Business Improvement Association is also on its way to brightening the streets.
The idea was put forth earlier this year by Stable House co-owner and South Granville BIA board member Peter McGee after he witnessed the vibrant street-art culture in Bogotá during a trip to Colombia.
“I think it represents that sort of ground-up movement,” he tells the Straight by phone, “as opposed to a city that’s all planned from the top down.”
With the support of the City of Vancouver’s anti-graffiti and public-art programs, the BIA commissioned local artists Ola Volo and Milan Basic to install two murals in the neighbourhood as part of the South Granville ArtWalk in June.
Splashed upon the exterior of the building that houses Williams-Sonoma and Stable House at Granville Street and West 13th Avenue, Volo’s swirling, equestrian-inspired piece pays tribute to the site’s past life as a stable house.
“South Granville has a really strong history and the Stable House name was kind of meant to represent that,” explains McGee, “and then the mural reinforces that a little bit.”
A short walk away at the Ian Tan Gallery at Granville Street and West 7th Avenue, East Vancouver artist Milan Basic has adorned the north side of the building with renderings of an image by Hamilton-based painter—and one of the museum’s artists—Kristofir Dean.
The kaleidoscopic mural depicts four large figures that appear to be refracting multiple beams of light.
Sharon Townsend, executive director of the South Graville BIA, tells the Straight by phone that residents and business-owners have embraced the art thus far.
“It’s wonderful to see the public engagement,” she says, “and I’ve found it really interesting to observe how people have used the murals as a springboard for wedding photos, photoshoots—you name it.”
Although Townsend would like to see “anything with a flat surface” in the area decorated with a mural, she notes that the façades of Meinhardt Fine Foods (3002 Granville Street) and Zebraclub Vancouver (3101 Granville Street) come to mind in particular.
Both McGee and Townsend hope to continue the program so that additional murals are installed in time for 2017’s South Granville ArtWalk next summer.
Considering the success of the murals so far—and the prominence of fine-art venues and galleries throughout South Granville—a mural festival of the neighbourhood’s own is not out of the question.
“South Granville has always had a strong connection to art—that’s what the ArtWalk tries to promote,” says McGee, “and so the mural program is a really good fit for that.”
Scroll through the images below for a closer look at the two completed murals before you check them out IRL.