It’s hard for most locals not to stop and take a photo at the bright pink and yellow alleyway just south of West Hastings Street, between Granville and Seymour Streets. It’s a part of Downtown Vancouver’s More Awesome Now project, which “takes existing, underutilized downtown laneways and reshapes them into engaging public spaces accessible by everyone.” Points of interest include the basketball hoops, hopscotch, and More Awesome Now sign.
Thanks to the Vancouver Mural Festival—coming back for its second year in August 2017—the streets around South Strathcona are brimming with incredible work from world-renowned muralists and local artists, such as Ola Volo. The three main streets are Industrial Avenue, Southern Street, and Station Street. No wall was spared during the 2016 festival, so when exploring the area, don’t forget to look in parking lots and alleyways. The event provides a platform for Vancouver artists to contribute to the city’s “cultural legacy,” and they will be adding approximately 50 new murals this summer, including in the next area.
The festival continues along Main Street, with a lot more artwork added to the street’s walls and parking lots in 2016. Vancouver Mural Festival’s official map shows that the street art on Main Street is between 4th and 14th Avenues, but a lot of the murals are focused around West Broadway too. The most important thing to remember when street art spotting in this area is to always look up! Some of the best murals are above eye level.
For Vancouver’s Biennale exhibition in 2014, which celebrated art in public spaces, a pair of artists transformed six concrete silos on Granville Island into an amazing street art display. The artists are Osgemeos, who are identical twin brothers from Sao Paulo who have over one million Instagram followers. The 21-meter (69-foot) mural on Ocean Concrete’s silos was the pair’s first artwork in Canada. The seven-story mural is hard to ignore, and with paintings on both sides, it’s fun to view it from different angles.
Branching off of East Hastings Street, from Gastown to Clark Drive, is where you will find a lot of Vancouver’s vibrant street art. There is even several Vancouver Mural Tours focused on showcasing the best street art in the Eastside, and the stories behind the pieces. There is an amazing portrait of Jimi Hendrix by local artist Dedos, plus there are murals paying tribute to East Vancouver’s Chinatown and Japantown neighborhoods and native art.
This bright rainbow mural decorates an alley between Granville Street and 6th Avenue. It’s a favorite spot for Instagrammers, and it’s no surprise that it adorns this area. South Granville has Vancouver’s largest collection of art galleries and art dealers, so visit Gallery Row and stop by for your own rainbow burst photo.