Free City Mural Festival to transform south Flint, celebrate city's massive art project

FLINT, Michigan—Serving as the grand finale of the massive Flint mural project, Flint’s first ever Free City Mural Festival will splash a single block on Flint’s southside with 22 murals in a single week. 

Local and international muralists from Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom already have flocked to Flint for the festival which started on Monday and continues through Saturday — with a major community celebration and street fair designed to highlight Flint’s southside business district. 

At the close of the Free City Mural Festival, organizers expect they will have completed 104 murals throughout the city of Flint as part of the Flint City Art Project. Mural festivals are common in cities worldwide, said Joe Schipani, executive director for the Flint Public Art Project, and it seemed like a fitting way to mark the massive number of murals installed in Flint this year.

Related story: Wave of new murals position Flint as one of world's top destinations for street art

“After watching people do mural tours all summer and going and checking out all the murals all through the summer, people have ventured out to neighborhoods they haven’t ventured out to before,” said Schipani.

Flint Free City Mural Festival was made possible through community support — a Patronicity fundraising campaign raised more than $17,000 with the support of more than 100 donors including a $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. 
“The goal for this is to kind of connect these city hubs that we have,” said Schipani. “And try to connect them with the downtown through the murals.”

The main festival celebration is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, on South Saginaw Street between Atherton and Hemphill roads. Festival-goers will be able to see the artists at work during the festival and participate in live painting sessions. 

A skate park, food trucks, family activities at Windiate Park, and live performances from City Scope, Lu Fuki, and Divine Providence also are planned. Bike tours of installed murals also will be offered. 
Other events included a meet and greet with artists and an artists’ reception. A panel discussion with artists is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Totem Books. Then on Friday, artists will participate in downtown Flint’s monthly ArtWalk.

Nomad Clan from the United Kingdom will be making their third return trip to Flint as the festivals’ headlining mural artists. 

Local artists participating include Kevin “Scraps”  Burdick, Charlie Boike, and Paulie Everett. The international lineup of muralists includes Krystal Cooke, Mon Devane, Seba Center, Mariela,Aanimalitoland, Spaik, Helen Burr, Eaze 1, Often Seen Rarely Spoken, Jmuzacz, Jerrod Tobias, Skotness, Magdalove, Nuri Amanatullah, Tarajosu, and Osiris Rain. 

“Mural festivals are an international trend and we have the spaces and the ability to attract the talent here,” said Schipani. “ And you know, Flint needs some good attention.” 

For more information, visit the Facebook event page or contact Joe Schipani at (810) 820-0275.
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Read more articles by Xandr Brown.