This past weekend Hamilton played host to Concrete Canvas Festival, an amazing grassroots street art festival that celebrates the role of art and collaboration in creating vibrant communities for all citizens. All over the downtown area and beyond, artists created massive street murals on walls in need of some love. As soon as we heard about the festival, we started a making a mental list of all the blank walls in Barton Village where we'd love to see brand new art pieces, and we're so glad that the organizers reached out so that we could connect them with some of these great locations.
Started in 1995, Concrete Canvas is a multi-day visual arts festival with full support from the City of Hamilton where local and internationally acclaimed artists alike gather in Hamilton over one weekend to paint murals live across the city. Not only is it an opportunity for artists to come together, connect, and collaborate, but it's also an effort elevate the visual landscape of the city while simultaneously inspiring a new generation of artists. Concrete Canvas is a one-of-a-kind self-guided event series that brings the Hamilton community together to celebrate art, music, culture, and diversity, not just over one weekend but also beyond, as all the new art pieces become part of the communities they exist in.
We talked to Leon Robinson, the founder of Concrete Canvas, about what the festival has brought to the city. He and lead curator Scott McDonald both grew up in Hamilton and have seen firsthand the value that art can bring to every community. We spoke about the stigma attached to certain areas of Hamilton, something that Concrete Canvas Festival tries to push back against, elevating street art to show the beauty and vibrancy it can bring to communities of all kinds. "Every community is deserving of art, happiness, and a peaceful place to exist," says Robinson, and this is the message that Concrete Canvas strives to bring to the city at large.
To download a map of the festival and check out all the featured murals, head over to Concrete Canvas's website, or check out the slideshow below to see some of the incredible murals up around Barton Village and elsewhere in the city!