Six artists painted a “graffiti wall” in Newton on Wednesday, May 2. It’s the latest mural to be painted in the area, as part of a “festival alley” being created by the Newton BIA. (Photo: Newton BIA)

‘Graffiti wall’ joins three murals in Newton’s ‘festival alley’

Newton BIA says this is the first commissioned graffiti wall in Surrey

A “festival alley” is taking shape in Newton, with the latest of four mural projects being painted this week.

The artwork has been commissioned by the Newton BIA and the projects is about “giving life to dark corners of the community,” said BIA director Philip Aguirre.

“Activating space,” Aguirre mused of the project. “Providing an area that’s normally not used as an alley, where the garbage cans and grease traps from restaurants are, and sort of providing a space where the community can come to. Giving new life to an area. And doing that with art, doing that with colour, doing that with passion and community events.”

Want to check out the murals yourself? Scroll to the end of the story for a map.

First, a “Newton Man” was painted in 2016 behind Case World near 72nd Avenue and King George Boulevard, then a “Welcome to Newton” mural was created in May of 2017 that focused on the community’s past, present and future, with colourful elements including an old interurban train to the annual Vaisakhi parade, held nearby.

See also: VIDEO: Newton mural captures Surrey community’s past, present and future (May 9, 2017)

See also: VIDEO: Murals ‘giving life to dark corners’ of Newton (April 18, 2018)

This year, two projects have been completed.

Last month, a duo of artists were commissioned to paint an Indigenous mural, to the tune of $9,000 in combined funding from the BIA and landlord Value Properties.

Danny Fernandez — the artist behind last May’s mural on the west side of the building on 72nd Avenue, just east of King George Boulevard — joined Indigenous artist Corey Bulpitt last month to create the latest mural on the east wall.

Shades of purple, green and blue work to create an aurora-borealis-esque sky, with traditional Haida artwork and just a dash of graffiti-flavour weaved in.

And finally, on Wednesday of this week an “in-progress graffiti wall” came to life, a collaboration of six graffiti artists (Def3/Danny Fernandez, Naks, Keep6, Seekz, Dedos and Corey Bulpitt).

“It should be the first commissioned graffiti wall, at least in Surrey for sure,” said Aguirre. “Graffiti is usually not paid for but these guys are cutting edge.”

Aguirre acknowledged older generations aren’t “going to hang out in an alley to go look at art,” so the projects are definitely done with a “youth vibe” in mind.

What has the response been since the murals were created?

“It’s been great,” Aguirre said. “You know, people want to see things happening in their community. They’re not game changers, but all these little projects build up to something… they build up to positivity for the community. New optimism. And that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to create a thriving town centre and we can do that by providing art, providing space for people to be in, a space for people to do their events, to do community engagement.”

The murals are visible from 72nd Avenue, east of King George Boulevard.

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