The Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF) is blurring the lines between the virtual world and the real world with the return of a popular event in February.
From February 16 to 26, 2023, the third annual VMF Winter Arts is transforming public spaces across downtown Vancouver into interactive, open-air galleries featuring augmented reality (AR) art and lights.
VMF Winter Arts 2023 is a free, all-ages outdoor festival produced by the team behind Vancouver Mural Festival. The popular event features AR art and light installations at locations across the city, plus exciting festivities and happenings to add to your schedule.
“VMF holds a vision of Vancouver as an international destination to celebrate art that lights up our downtown core,” said Andrea Curtis, VMF executive director, in a release. “Our Winter Arts festival brings top local and international art and artists together with food, music, live performances and a West Coast vibrancy to create a unique experience that welcomes all to celebrate and connect.”
The theme of VMF Winter Arts 2022 is Land and Light. According to organizers, “through bringing together art, technology, and celebration, light becomes a creative force in the city and an invitation to consider our relationship to the land — as stewards, settlers, immigrants, visitors, and guests.”
Returning to the 2023 edition of the festival is the Winter Arts Hub, which will be situated at šxwƛ ̓ ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The Hub will be an all-ages, licensed outdoor venue featuring art installations, food trucks, and a live performance stage. Additional art can also be discovered while skating on the nearby Robson Square Ice Rink.
New to VMF Winter Arts is the highly anticipated VMF After Dark, a late-night series of pop-up parties in the fully-transformed Bentall Centre Gallery.
Visitors to the creative space will find art and a licensed all-ages NFT Gallery and Lounge by day, and a 19+ event space on weekend nights. There will be five ticketed After Dark parties throughout the festival, each with entertainment curated by a different group from the local music scene so you can continue dancing after the Winter Arts Hub has closed for the evening.
VMF Winter Arts public art highlights include laser light animation, augmented reality, sculptures, and more by local and international artists. There will also be special programming including daily Guided Art Tours across downtown Vancouver, a Curator Talk, and more to be announced.
“At the core of VMF’s values is a commitment to supporting and showcasing diversity in all its forms,” the organizers said in a statement. “Through art and events, VMF creates inclusive experiences that connect and reflect our city’s many cultures and communities, while inviting all to participate, regardless of background. This commitment is woven across Winter Arts’ visual and performance artist line-up and programming.”
Multimedia artist Tafui will curate Present, a laser animation and live performance exhibition with audio, visual, and spoken word artists. Present will tell stories highlighting the creativity of the African and Caribbean diaspora.
Another must-see happening at VMF Winter Arts is Blanketing the City: Lighting the Way, the continued evolution of the public art mural series and reconciliation process designed by renowned xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) weaver and graphic designer, Debra Sparrow, in collaboration with VMF.
Large-scale lighting displays featuring transformed Coast Salish weaving patterns, colours and stories will be displayed on iconic Vancouver landmarks throughout February.
When: February 16 to 26, 2023
Time: Various times
Where: Various locations
Cost: Free and ticketed events
Daily Hive is a proud media partner of the Vancouver Mural Festival