Local artists Kara Dee Harrison, Russell Morland and Austin Weflen will be painting murals in downtown Nanaimo as part of the inaugural Hub City Walls festival. (Photos submitted)

Mural artists announced for Nanaimo’s inaugural Hub City Walls festival

Local artists Kara Dee Harrison, Russell Morland and Austin Weflen to paint downtown walls

A trio of local artists with very different styles will be adding splashes of colour to three downtown Nanaimo walls next month.

On July 13 the Humanity in Community Foundation announced that Russell Morland, Kara Dee Harrison and Austin Weflen have been chosen to create three new murals for the inaugural Hub City Walls festival. The festival, approved for funding earlier this year, was originally going to feature a block party and other festivities as well, but those events have been cancelled due to COVID-19. The mural painting, however, is still going ahead.

“We didn’t think it was going to be possible for a while there so [we’re] super excited that we can still do something this year,” artistic director Lys Glassford said.

From Aug. 5 to 15 Morland, Weflen and Harrison will be adding their art to a parking lot retaining wall at 95 Cavan St., the Bastion Street parkade stairwell at 119 Skinner St. and a wall near 151 Front St., respectively. Glassford said Morland’s work will be surrealist, Weflen has created a lettering design and Harrison will paint a wildlife scene.

“We chose pretty diverse styles so none of these artists are going to have art that looks anything similar, which I’m super excited about. To just bring more diversity to the big walls in Nanaimo,” they said.

Festival producer Lauren Semple said Humanity in Community received more than 35 mural applications from around the world. However, due to global travel restrictions, health and safety concerns and “the unknown of the future” brought on by COVID-19, they decided on selecting local artists this year. Semple said there was “no lack at all of Nanaimo talent to choose from.”

“In the end it just came down to looking at what was submitted, what the artists were going to bring to the table in terms of their style and their experience and just curating a really colourful, bright kickoff to this annual event,” she said.

More information about Hub City Walls can be found here.



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