Find a Different View of Erie During Views Festival
Erie Arts and Culture's inaugural festival brings art to street level
Erie is about to come alive with color, vibrancy, and music in a celebration of public art during the inaugural Views Festival presented by Erie Arts and Culture. This large scale public art initiative began in 2022 as a partnership with the United Way of Erie County's Safer Walking Routes initiative, in which the organizations set a goal of creating 50 public art projects along these routes as wayfinding markers for children walking to and from school. Last year, 13 murals were created as a part of this program and during the Views Festival, which will run from June 1 -13, 28 additional murals are planned to be created throughout the city. The remaining nine murals are scheduled to be completed in 2024.
These 28 murals will be completed by 16 local artists and their assistants as well as 10 guest artists from Australia, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, Mexico, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, and South Africa, who will be supported by local assistants. According to a statement provided by Erie Arts and Culture, "The objective is to create museum and gallery quality works that are accessible in the public realm at the street level. Community members and visitors will have the opportunity to see the visual landscape of Erie transformed in a two-week period of time and watch, up close and personal, the artists at work." To learn more about the individual artists involved, visit viewsfest.com
In addition to the creation of these public art pieces, the Views Festival is also showcasing related events that are happening in various art spaces throughout Erie, with the theme of these events focusing on street art and hip hop. One of these community partners is Bencher's Union who is, according to writer Matt Flowers, "a progressive group of artists who use their collective creativity to turn portions of lifeless city scape into stunning murals." Erie Arts and Culture will be partnering with the aforementioned Bencher's Union, as well as City Gallery, 1020 Collective, ECAT, Erie's Black Wall Street, Erie Downtown Partnership, FEED Media Arts, Grounded Print + Paper Studio, Kings Rook Club, and Oliver's Beer Garden to host events or exhibitions during the festival that "directly relate to and demonstrate urban arts and culture."
One unique event happening on Saturday, Jun. 3 is a "Block Party" at Grounded Print Shop, which is a collaborative art event in which an actual steamroller will be used to created massive wood-block prints that have been carved by various contributing local artists. Owner of Grounded, Ashley Pastore comments, "We are printing eight foot by four foot woodblocks that will then be used in the installation of a large mural on the east wall of the Erie Center for Arts and Technology building. The theme of the mural is centered around native plants and insects." This event is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
This event, as well as all of the planned public art and music events happening in conjunction with the Views Festival can be found in the schedule below:
- Thursday, Jun. 1: Ode to the Street: a celebration of the various contributions to urban dance culture by trailblazers and pioneers in Erie, PA. Presented by Erie's Black Wall Street at the Hirt Auditorium.
- Friday, Jun. 2 and Saturday, Jun. 3: Synonymous at King's Rook Club: a showcase celebrating hip hop culture.
- Saturday, Jun. 3: Grounded Print Shop Block Party: a 48" asphalt steamroller will be used to create large format block prints.
- Saturday, Jun. 3 and Sunday, Jun. 4: Visionary Views of Fashion: a two day pop-up market at 1020 Collective presenting regional streetwear and apparel brands.
- Thursday, Jun. 8: Unboxed: A Sneaker Exhibition: Unboxed is a visual exhibition at City Gallery exploring the social history and design aesthetics of sneakers.
- Friday - Sunday, Jun. 9 - Jun. 11: All Aboard, from Rails to Alleys: Bencher's Union will welcome graffiti writers from around the United States to create murals in the city's alleyways.
- Saturday, Jun. 10: Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop: an all day event presented by the Bencher's Union and hosted in Gridley Park by Erie Downtown Partnership.
- Sunday, Jun. 11: Battle on the Bay: Hosted at Oliver's Beer Garden, featuring DJ performances and a 90-minute mural battle. The headlining performer will be DJ Ro with opening act DJ Salts.
- Tuesday, Jun. 13: Creative Crowd: Creative Crowd is a monthly networking event for artists, creatives, and culture bearers hosted by Erie Arts & Culture. Happening Tuesday, June 13th at FEED Media Art Center.