The Beltline Urban Mural Project (BUMP), is poised to evolve the feel of the Beltline community by funding public art projects, in the form of large street murals.
The community intends for the murals to represent it in a cultural sense as well as tell the area’s story as more murals are completed.
Artists will be matched up with local business owners whose walls have been chosen as mural locations in the Victoria Park and Connaught areas.
“I think it will bring a lot more culture to the area,” said Zach Wilcox, the owner of Future Grownup, a Calgary based art collective.
The project is financed through the Beltline Community Investment Fund, an account created through the contributions of real estate development in the community in return for additional density.
Some businesses that have already agreed to be part of the project include Commonwealth Bar, Atmosphere Sports, The Camera Store, and Saneal Cameras.
The murals done on Commonwealth bar and The Camera Store are already being admired, as they were both completed in early October.
Along with adding culture, murals have also been proven to deter graffiti.
“We want to create a safer street experience and a stronger identity for our community,” said Peter Oliver, head of the Beltline Neighbourhood Association, which is sponsoring the project.
“Its always less sketchy walking down a brightly painted alley than a plain, dark and gloomy one,” he added.
The Beltline community also intends for the murals to attract a lot more tourism.
In 2014, the New York Times did a story called ”52 places to go in 2014.”
Calgary ranked number 17 due to the city getting its “cultural legs,” referring to things like the Peace Bridge and the big head known as Wonderland in front of the Bow building.
“I was getting really fed-up with some of the recent city approved art installations, so I was glad to see an organization taking this into its own hands,” said ACAD student Andrea Spletzer, who has applied to be one of the artists to do a mural.
Spletzer was speaking about the giant blue ring on Deerfoot Trail North, and the new Bowfort Towers on Stoney Trail in northwest, which stirred up a lot of controversy.
“Art is obviously important in establishing a city’s identity,” said Wilcox.
He went on to say that the City of Calgary should communicate with and commission more local artists for their larger art installations.
Its always less sketchy walking down a brightly painted alley than a plain, dark and gloomy one. – Peter Oliver
The Hillhurst-Sunnyside community has a lot of mural art along 10 Street N.W. and also Kensington Road N.W.
“I recently did a mural by the Sunnyside train station and I’ve applied to get chosen for one in the Beltline mural project,” said Alex Wong, owner of Voltage Creative Garage.
“For an artist it’s a great honour because your piece gets so much exposure,” said Wong.
“It’s like you become a part of the city, even when you leave.”