Once a year Waynesboro Virginia takes part in the creation of massive works of outdoor art during with their Virginia Street Arts Festival. The streets come alive with the strokes of artist’s brushes. Some artists take this opportunity to the limits. In less than one week a seven story, 100 feet tall mural was completed in October 2019. It was the largest mural that artist Nils Westergard ever completed. The Appalachian Mural Trail recently added Waynesboro’s street art wonders to the trail’s growing list of over 125 impressive outdoor art murals.
Nils Westergard says, “It was a massive challenge with 2 failing lifts that only got me half way through the wall, everything right of center was done with a pole. But it was a beautiful week in a beautiful part Virginia. The selfless hours and efforts of the many volunteers helped me over every hump, and I am so thankful to them for making all this happen.”
Nils Westergard is a Belgian-American street artist and film maker based out of Richmond, Virginia, where he studied Film. His Belgian grandfather was a painter, and when he was young he spent almost every summer in Europe, learning to welcome art into his life and express himself through a visual medium.
Starting with stencils and graffiti as a teenager in the Washington DC suburbs he developed a unique style which has been translated to walls across the US, Europe, and Australia. His intricately cut stencils. hip-hop music videos, and large murals investigate topics of intimacy, ego, power, and fragility. Splitting his time between Richmond, Gent, and Amsterdam the young artist is establishing himself as a rising figure in the urban art world.
There are nearly a dozen murals around town, all of which have been created as part of the annual Virginia Street Arts Festival that Waynesboro has hosted since 2015. Another young DC artist, Julia Chon (AKA Kimchi Juice), took part in the 2019 VA Street Arts Festival. On a nearly abandoned building along Race Avenue in Waynesboro she painted a mural that represents a smaller-scale Blue Ridge Mountains scene featuring some cute renditions of the wildlife that are found in the mountains. She also painted an interesting mural of four ladies. Julia says, “The mural was inspired by a folktale my grandparents told me when I was younger about the creation of the sun, moon, and stars.”
This year’s festival is scheduled for the second Sunday in October, 12 – 7 pm. For more information go to: https://www.vastreetarts.com/2020-festival-information/
Other new mural towns recently added to the Appalachian Mural Trail are Hendersonville, NC and Sparta, NC. Both towns are in the process of constructing new masterpieces, while showcasing the murals they already have in place, more to come later on regarding these new creations.
Inclusive Mural Partnerships are being formed to create cultural murals in four other communities in the Appalachian region, bringing stories alive through the arts! So there’s more ‘painting the town’ upon the horizon, and who knows what form these new murals will eventually take. Stay tuned at muraltrail.com