Flint's 22-mural grand finale 'is history in the making'

FLINT, Michigan—Residents, musicians, skaters,and muralists alike weathered the chill and  came together Saturday, Oct. 12, to showcase their talents across the city through the city’s first ever Free City Mural Festival. The festival attracted enthusiasts from across the county to witness the final installation of the year-long effort to transform Flint into a beacon of outdoor art. 

With their work, there are now 100 murals in Flint, painted this year through the work of the Flint Public Art Project.

“I think that this is the first of many — and (Flint) is actually going to be an art destination due to this festival,” said Sandra Branch, vice president of the Flint Public Art Project. “Flint is now on the map now, so I can’t wait to see how this develops. This is history in the making.”

Related story: Here's a map to all 100 of the murals transforming Flint neighborhoods

Hemphill Road was completely blocked off to traffic to allow for open enjoyment of local bands like City Scape, skatepark fun with Brush Alley Skate shop, neighborhood visioning with City of Flint’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, and chair spray painting with the University of Michigan-Flint Department of Social Work’s Youth Violence Prevention Center.

Attendees were welcomed under the resource tent where they could find water and maps of live mural paintings taking place all over Flint’s south side along Saginaw Street, Grand Traverse, and streets in between. 

“Stuff like this is what Flint needs, you know, just trying to make Flint nicer,” said Grand Blanc resident Joe Hannis who works in Flint.

Free City Mural Festival featured the 22 muralists including headlining (and returning) artists Nomad Clan from England, NYC based Magda Love, local artist Charlie Boike, and Seba Cener from Argentina. 

“People have been coming around with cups of coffee,” said muralist Joy Gilleard of Manchester, England, half of the artistic duo Nomad Clan. “And I think this is genuinely about people coming together to create something beautiful, and Flint already is. It’s got its own absolute charms.” 

This year’s Flint City Mural Festival was made possible through a number of partnerships including support from Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 
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Read more articles by Xandr Brown.