Festival Inspire expanding its mural program across New Brunswick

·2 min read
Lysanne Lombard is a New Brunswick based artist who painted this colourful mural in downtown Moncton in 2018.  (Pierre Fournier/CBC News - image credit)
Lysanne Lombard is a New Brunswick based artist who painted this colourful mural in downtown Moncton in 2018. (Pierre Fournier/CBC News - image credit)

Festival Inspire is returning this summer, and it's expanding its focus provincewide.

Communities around the province are invited to apply to have murals painted on buildings, and the call has just gone out for artists from across Canada to take part.

Lisa Griffin is the co-founder and executive director of Festival Inspire.

"We have quite a few communities up the Acadian Peninsula so I think that's the direction we'll be heading right now and then we have a couple of other walls. We'll definitely be doing one in Saint John." Griffin said.

Last year Festival Inspire was cancelled because of the pandemic. But through its partnership with Encore Atlantic, four murals with a recycling theme were created in Fredericton, Saint John, Miramichi and Caraquet.

Lisa Griffin is the executive director of Festival Inspire.  She's excited to bring murals to other parts of the province.
Lisa Griffin is the executive director of Festival Inspire. She's excited to bring murals to other parts of the province. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

"We also have funding from Encore Atlantic, which is our environmental partner, and we'll be doing some environmental awareness murals with them as well just like we did last year." she said.

While the pandemic hasn't made planning easy, Griffin says the organization has always had the ability to adapt.

"Inspire has never been a stagnant model. We change our programming every year depending on what the community needs so I think the on-the-road model is something we've always been prepared for and we're excited about having these conversations with different communities around the province." she said.

Griffin says every precaution will be taken to make sure the artists and participants are safe from COVID-19.

Griffin's plan is to travel to six different communities in the province and stay for a week, while one or more murals are created. She says it's an opportunity to bring the community together.

"Mural Doctor" Fred Harrison painted this historical mural in Petitcodiac in 2018 as part of Festival Inspire.
"Mural Doctor" Fred Harrison painted this historical mural in Petitcodiac in 2018 as part of Festival Inspire.(Submitted/Festival Inspire Facebook)

"Think of a mural as like a coffee table book where it creates conversations in the community that might not happen otherwise . You can speak to people randomly in the streets about it. It brings art to the dinner table where galleries might feel like they're not for everybody so it accomplishes a lot of things." she said.

The call for artists is open until April 30. An announcement on which communities will take part is expected in a couple of weeks.

Griffin is excited to bring the wall murals to other parts of the province.

"Wouldn't it be cool for New Brunswick to be this quirky whole province filled with beauty in the streets, where people are excited and proud of their shared spaces and that is something that can reach the globe, so that when people can travel again maybe they'll think I need to go to this place that has these amazing murals everywhere …, " she said.