Houstonians will be able to celebrate the city's diverse arts community like never before with the inaugural Houston Urban Experience (HUE) Mural Festival, a week-long event that offers the opportunity to observe 90 artists create murals on nearly 20,000 square feet of wall spaces located around downtown.
From October 17 to 24, artists will be working on the walls for roughly 170 hours to create their designs using various techniques and styles of mural art — including graffiti, muralism, paint brush work, airbrush, roller brush, wheat paste and stencil.
The public is encouraged to experience the works-in-progress through either guided or self-guided tours.
With mural sites located across EaDo, the East End and the Washington Avenue Arts District, visitors can keep track locations using the festival's interactive map and docents will be present at each site to provide additional information about the artists and artworks. Visitors can also enjoy live music, food trucks and St. Arnold's Brewery pop-ups at certain mural sites.
The festival is presented by Houston First and founded by locally renowned graffiti artist GONZO247, the force behind the "Houston Is Inspired" mural located in downtown's Market Square, which was also commissioned by Houston First about two years ago.
"We partnered with GONZO247 on the 'Inspired' wall — reinforcing the fact that Houston is an inspired destination and that culture is all around — so it was natural that GONZO and I were talking, since it was a good five weeks to complete that mural so we talked every day," Holly Clapham-Rosenow, senior VP of marketing for Houston First, tells CultureMap.
"We spoke about lots of things and one of the things was how mesmerized people are by that wall and how great it would be to do that on a larger scale, to really celebrate the fact that if you’re looking for inspiration, you can always look to the streets.
"A couple of years later, we revisited the conversation, seeing how much people loved the wall and seeing that it's the most Instagrammed photo in Houston, and we said, 'Let's do it.' It was literally one conversation, and three months later, the HUE Mural Festival is approaching."
The festival — which kicks off with an opening ceremony at 10 am on Saturday, October 17 at the corner of St. Emanuel and Leeland — will showcase dozens of local artists, as well as artists from around the world, including Brasil, Colombia, England, France, Mexico and Spain.
"I can't say that the city's ever gone through 20 different properties being painted in one week, and for the scale of the art that's going to be produced, it's definitely going to be the first of it's kind in the city and I’m just excited to see it happen," GONZO247 tells CultureMap.
"This is normally something I'd have to go out of town to see and I'm hoping that this is what's going to bring people to Houston from out of town to experience it."