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Nelson International Mural Festival to open with acclaimed artists, live performances, activities

A kid-friendly weekend of free events includes beat-boxing and drumming workshops
Turbo Bambi is seen here working a piece for the Nelson International Mural Festival. The event opens Friday in Nelson. Photo: Electrify Photography.

The annual Nelson International Mural Festival opens Friday with live music and activities for all ages.

From Friday until Sunday, the free community festival features mural tours by Cycling Without Age, Sunday workshops and performances throughout the weekend.

Over 650 Canadian and international muralists applied to participate in this year’s festival, which will build on Nelson’s efforts to make artistic reflection and storytelling a part of daily infrastructure, according to the Nelson and District Arts Council.

This year’s lineup of muralists includes eight artists, each with a unique style and approach to their work. The muralists’ biographies are available on the festival webpage.

IMAGINE, who also goes by the name Sneha Shrestha, is the arts program manager at the South Asia Institute at Harvard University. The Nepali artist’s murals are influenced by the aesthetics of Sanskrit scriptures and graffiti.

Jesse Campbell is a Victoria-based Métis muralist who left a career in science in 2018 to work full-time as a visual artist. California-based oil painter Timothy Robert Smith combines realist techniques with unique viewing angles and kaleidoscopic landscapes.

Musicians, dancers and DJs will perform throughout Friday and Saturday. The variety of Sunday workshops at Cottonwood Falls will teach participants about beat-boxing, drumming, singing, dancing and storytelling.

The event will end at the Civic Theatre where the festival will screen Faces Places, a classic friends-on-a-journey film featuring a muralist and photographer.

Local artist Bethany Pardoe will lead kid-friendly art activities with pipe cleaner critters and custom buttons at Hall Street Plaza on Friday. On Saturday, kids can also enjoy a mural scavenger hunt and a visit to Pattern Nation’s interactive art installation play-sculptures made from vibrant “blobs.”

Cycling Without Age is a community group of cycling volunteers who offer seniors rides on their tri-shaws, which are carriages attached to bikes. American Sign Language interpretation will be available at the opening ceremonies and many of the music and workshop events.

More information is available on the Nelson arts council’s website at

About the Author: Morgana Adby, Local Journalism Initiative

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