“About as exciting as watching paint dry,” used to mean something was really boring, but now with the rise of mural festivals, watching an artist paint a wall can be a source of live entertainment.
In fact, this Saturday, June 1, the Danbury Street Festival will include a Live Painting tent for the first time ever. I will be there, along with other local artists, turning paint into entertainment.
But since this Saturday’s event hasn’t happened yet, let me tell you about my experience at another Mural Festival.
Last September, I participated in Paint Memphis, a one-day event that transformed a block of abandoned warehouses in Memphis, TN, into an avenue of public art. This was my first mural festival, and I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was I would be painting a cinderblock wall about 16 feet by 9 feet, and that there would be dozens of other artists painting their own murals on walls nearby. I sketched my design, gathered my brushes, and boarded a plane to Memphis.
What I found was a massive block party. There were food trucks, live bands on a flatbed trailer, a big parking lot full of craft vendors, and wall after wall of artists, painting, painting, painting. Muralists from Florida to California drove in for this event. One guy even flew in from Ireland.
Locals flocked to the event. All day Saturday, people strolled the avenue sampling barbeque, listening to music, and soaking in the color as artists painted their walls. Some observers would comment or ask questions of the muralists, but most just enjoyed watching talented people transform something ugly into something beautiful.
Though the event itself was only one day, the impact lasted far beyond. Paint Memphis’ Facebook page continues to get comments from Memphis residents expressing how much they enjoy seeing the murals as they drive through the city. One nearby apartment building owner even wrote a letter saying how his units had become more desirable with renters after the mural festival transformed their street from eyesore to public art.
This is great news for cities and organizations seeking to engage the public in new and creative ways. The Live Painting tent at Danbury’s Street Festival this Saturday is at the forefront of something new. So if you are local, come see us at the Festival–You don’t want to miss it! If you aren’t fortunate enough to live near Danbury, CT, you can still follow along on Instagram. Let’s see what art can do!