The Nelson International Mural Festival will open with acclaimed artists, live performances and activities

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

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

More than 650 Canadian and international muralists have applied to participate in this year’s festival, which will build on Nelson’s efforts to integrate artistic reflection and storytelling into everyday 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. Biographies of the muralists are available on the festival webpage.

IMAGINE, also known as Sneha Shrestha, is head of the arts program at Harvard University’s South Asia Institute. The Nepalese artist’s murals are influenced by the aesthetics of Sanskrit scriptures and graffiti.

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

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

The event will culminate at the Civic Theater where the festival will screen Faces Places, a classic traveling friends film featuring a muralist and photographer.

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

Cycling Without Age is a community group of volunteer cyclists who offer rides for older people on their tri-shaws, which are horse-drawn carriages attached to bicycles. American Sign Language interpretation will be available at opening ceremonies and many musical events and workshops.

Further information is available on the Nelson Arts Council website at


Kenneth T. Shippee