Mural by Montreal artist collective A'Shop A’Shop collective (Montreal)

The first edition of the MURAL street art festival took place recently on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, in downtown Montreal. Already a street art hot spot, the boulevard, known here as The Main, went through a major transformation. Twenty street artists from all over the world were invited to create murals of various sizes and styles. 

Saint-Laurent boulevard used to be a lively artery in Montreal. In the last decade, businesses have been closing and ongoing street repairs have slowed foot traffic. The MURAL festival was organized to rebrand the street, giving it new, bright colors and an effervescent atmosphere that would draw people back.

MURAL was founded through a collaboration between artistic marketing agency LNDMRK and the Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent (Saint-Laurent boulevard merchant’s association). With more than 800,000 visitors over four days, both organizations deemed it a success.

Aesthetically, the objective was to create an open, outdoor museum. Big names from the international street art scene recruited, such as Escif (Spain), Phlegm (GB) and Pixel Pancho (Italy). Many local artists, including Jason Botkin, Omen, Le Bonnard and Chris Dyer were also invited to make their mark on Montreal’s walls.

This year, twenty building facades were chosen to be covered. Artists were free to design and paint the murals according to their own style and inspiration and they were well supplied with the paint and tools required to create the giant murals.

Chris Dyer (Montreal) Chris Dyer (Montreal)

The MURAL festival on Saint-Laurent Boulevard is poised to become an annual event (rumors are saying that a 5 year contract has been signed). Mural painting was the core of the event, but other activities such as body painting, live music and dance troupe shows were also offered to the public.