Downtown Shopfront Murals

Downtown Shopfront Murals

In March of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic began to seriously impact everyone around the globe. Public Health controls and guidelines were brought in that stressed social isolation and restrictions on people gathering in public places. In Vancouver, we were quick to act, but the effect of these government directives led to the temporary closure of many businesses, stores, bars and restaurants. In response to this situation, and for the prevention of vandalism, break-ins, and anticipating a long shut down from the pandemic, downtown businesses with a street-level presence began to install plywood hoardings around their shopfronts.

In late March, the Vancouver Mural Festival reached out to the DVBIA to pitch the idea of rallying artists and storefronts to bring some life back to the streets. Through a partnership with the City of Vancouver, Goodbye Graffiti, Vancouver Mural Festival, and Vancity Bank, the DVBIA supported an artist honorarium and the organization of locations. The first murals began to be created in mid-April and over the course of the project, over 20 temporary murals were painted throughout downtown Vancouver, helping to enliven and bring visual interest to the downtown retail front and support local artists amid the pandemic.

Flash forward to August 2020. The hoardings have come down as we begin to tentatively re-open the economy and expand our social interactions. As a way to celebrate the artists and recognize this important historical moment, Pendulum Gallery, in collaboration with the DVBIA, have put together an exhibition that presents in-situ documentary photographs of the murals, as well as representative portions of the murals themselves, selected from those that were able to be saved and stored.

This exhibition was part of Vancouver Mural Festival 2020: #MakeArtWhileApart Sponsored by Downtown Vancouver BIA and London Drugs Photolab.

Image: Mark Illing, Panerai, Mural Installation