Last year, 150 artists applied to create murals as part of the Nelson International Mural Festival.
This year there were more than 300 applicants from 30 countries, eventually narrowed down to eight, according to Sydney Black, the festival’s organizer.
Last year about 700 people attended the various events in the festival.
This year Black estimates the crowds numbered 4,000.
The jump in attendance was partly because of last year’s thick wildfire smoke, notably absent this year. But also this year the festival was much more of a street party, with 30 musical performances compared to five last year. It was a music festival without tickets.
“Last year we mastered how we were doing murals and this year we mastered how we are doing music,” said Black.
Last year’s budget was $80,000; this year’s was $140,000.
“We saw all walks of life come out and dance: seniors, children, people who don’t have homes, everybody, dancing together and experiencing the art together,” Black said. “It was a huge act of community.”