5 muralists chosen for 2023 from more than 700 applications to paint a Chilliwack wall
Jun 5, 2023 8:00 AM
The Chilliwack Mural Festival is going to be bigger, bolder, and more beautiful than ever in its fourth year.
Jumping into co-curator roles for the Chilliwack Mural Festival this year were local artist Carrielynn Victor, and mural fest co-founder Amber Price.
Hundreds of artists applied to paint a wall in Chilliwack this summer – but only five made the cut.
Local business owner/community activist Amber Price started the Chilliwack Mural Festival in 2019.
“I think the biggest difference with curation this year is that we had an application process and we had multiple curators,” Price said.
The Chilliwack Mural Festival also partnered with the Chilliwack Community Arts Council, which has taken it under their umbrella, helping it grow, she said.
“Seeing almost 700 applications gave us a fresh, new perspective on independent artists that we might not otherwise have found.
“And having an Indigenous voice at the table is key because we are place-making and we’re place-making on unceded territory so having that lens was imperative.”
Chilliwack is quickly morphing into a city of stunning murals with more than 40 in the downtown core alone.
“We had a huge response to the mural calls and I found that to be really exciting,” said Carrielynn Victor.
She said she accepted Price’s invitation to help curate having a “local and a host interest in how this city represents within the realm of Indigenous art styles.”
Victor said it helped in the process of narrowing down their artistic choices that the festival organizers had systems already in place to help sift through and organize the large number of artist applications.
It gave the curators a chance to dive deep into “what’s out there” among professional muralists and also look at what would be a good fit for Chilliwack, Victor said.
She has more than 20 murals to her credit, painted with her partner Deb Silver, from Chilliwack to Vancouver including one at District 1881 in Chilliwack, one along Wellington Avenue, and several at local schools.
When the curators began to get down into the last 20 or 30 submissions for the festival, it got really difficult to choose she said “because there are so many fantastic artists out there.”
They tried to answer critical questions like what the audience wants, what they wanted, their intuition about what kind of environment the art pieces will create in the city, she said.
“Because really an art piece creates an environment around itself,” Victor underlined.
The five muralists selected for 2023:
• Jared Deck, Chilliwack, B.C.
• HENGone (Heng), Marseille, France
• Carolyn Wong, Vancouver, B.C.
• SATR (Satr Graffiti), Guangzhou, China
• Ronnie Harris (Ostwelve), New Westminster, B.C.
• Curtis Hylton, UK
The first of the five to paint a Chilliwack wall this summer will be Carolyn Wong who will be transforming part of Chilliwack from July 3 to July 10 at District 1881.
The mural fest is shaping up to be an over-the-top celebration of the arts, and it’s all free.
“We decided to hold a three-day festival for 2023,” said mural fest director Lise Monique Oakley.
The event dates are Aug. 10, 11, and 12 with a mix of live creation of large-scale murals with some of most exciting emerging and established artists doing their thing.
Attendees can expect to see mural painting, live music, cultural events, dance battles, food trucks, art zones and more fun festival events.
Festival locations are spread out in the downtown, District 1881, Central Community Park, and Central Village.
“First night of the festival will be an evening called Stories About Place, focused on art, community, and place, from a Stó:lō perspective. And we’ll be hosting Carrielynn Victor and Aaron Pete from Bigger Than Me podcast,” Oakley said.
Thursday night will be a reception and dialogue between speakers and the audience.
The mural fest kickoff Friday starts with a mural tour hosted by Price followed by music throughout the evening from R&B and hip-hop artists.
And then on Saturday is the grand finale, from 11 to 4 p.m.
“We’ll have a street party where the downtown will come to life with circus performances, cultural performances, bands, and so much more.”