Vancouver city council approves motion to explore using private construction hoarding for murals and public art

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      Vancouver has taken a step toward brightening up the urban environment.

      It comes as a result of a motion by NPA councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung, which her colleagues approved on March 31.

      The motion directs city staff to report back by early next year on options for requiring hoarding on private-property construction and development sites to include murals and public art.

      The preamble notes that in 2014, Toronto began requiring 50 percent of surface area on construction hoarding along public right-of-ways to be used for community art.

      "Toronto’s construction hoarding mural art program operates at no cost to the City while enhancing the public realm and creating opportunities and support for local artists and arts organizations," Kirby-Yung's motion states. "Developers and construction site owners in Toronto commission local artists through a number of ways, including utilizing a non-profit arts group such as STEPS to connect with artists or by engaging directly with artists should they choose to do so."

      In 2019, city council gave the green light to a culture plan, which outlined ways for including under-represented voices.

      Last year, several business improvement associations worked with the Vancouver Mural Festival to create temporary murals on plywood placed over retail spaces during the pandemic.

      "As we’ve seen during COVID-19 with storefront hoarding murals, construction hoarding offers a potential new 'canvas' for the city’s artists and arts and culture organizations to bring to life in terms of fostering a quality public realm that contributes to engaging, active cultural experiences in our urban spaces," the motion states.

      This Vancouver Mural Festival video shows how artists have brightened the public face of the city over the past five years.