‘Biggest thing’ since Prohibition: artists from around globe in Windsor for public mural fest

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Daniel Bombardier just called in a lot of favours.

The Windsor street artist, known globally as Denial, is bringing 65 artists to the city from around the world this week for Free For All Walls Mural Festival.

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During the large-scale public mural fest, the artists will put their unique marks on Windsor’s bland walls, blighted buildings, and back alleys.

While the event took about six months and some serious logistical planning to pull off, Bombardier said convincing dozens of artists to travel to Windsor and paint for free actually wasn’t that difficult.

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“You go around the world a bunch of times and paint in their cities for free,” he said. “I called in all the homies and homiettes and asked for favours.”

“We loosely calculated about $1.3 million worth of artwork, if they charged what they normally charge, is coming to Windsor this week. It’s awesome. Get rid of some of the blight. Change some of the beige and grey walls for something more inspiring. I’m really excited about it.”

Daniel Bombardier portrait
Windsor artist Daniel Bombardier, aka Denial, is shown on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, at WindsorEast in the 400 block of Erie Street, with the reflection of a mural on his glasses. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

The festival runs until Oct. 10. Free For All Walls began on a much smaller scale about a decade ago as part of a bash called Part Art Part Party. Bombardier started throwing the party at his downtown studio to raise money and bring in a couple of artists a year to “seed” Windsor with mural art. They did about 60 murals over the last 10 years.

“This year we decided to do them all within one week,” said Bombardier. “The intention I’m putting out there is to inspire more people to get into art and try to effect their surroundings.”

Sponsors are helping cover the costs including supplies. The artists are donating their time.

“There’s going to be all different styles of art,” said Jeff Denomme, who is behind the Windsor art brand Haunted Zoo. “That’s the beautiful thing. They all have a different style. They’re all painting what they’re known for. All these artists are professional artists.

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“If you don’t understand the art world, all these people are in the NHL. One’s good at stick handling. One’s good at top shelf. One guy’s a goalie. So let them do their thing and you’re going to have an awesome result at the end of it.”

Similar events have been going on around North America for years, but this is a first for Windsor.

“This is historic,” said Denomme, who helped organized the Free For All Walls Mural Fesitval. “This is probably the biggest thing to happen to Windsor since automotive and prohibition. So let’s be an art town.”

The artists are coming from a range of locales including North America and Europe. There are also festival coordinators coming in from Seattle, Houston, and Detroit to help with logistics.

Artist Crz Prz
Artist Crz Prz talks about the benefit of murals for cities on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, in the 400 block of Erie Street. The Chicago resident is in town to participate in the Free For All Walls Mural Festival. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

“Doing mural festivals has a huge impact on the community,” said artist Czr Prz, from Chicago, who arrived in Windsor on Monday. “Public art in general has a huge impact on the community. Stuff like this really makes things more vibrant and lively. It brings more people to the community, spending and things like that.”

Denomme said the event will be “super transformative to Windsor’s landscape.”

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“The hope and dream is to bring vibrancy to the city,” he said. “It benefits everybody. Street art is for everybody. A lot of high art only gets into the hands of the very wealthy and they get to hide it in their house, and their 17 friends that come over get to see it. But this, no matter what your socio-economic situation is, you can come and see this. Whether you have $1 or you have $10 billion, anybody can come and experience this.”


The Free For All Walls festival wraps up Saturday with Part Art Party Party.

It happens from 2 p.m to 12 a.m. at WindsorEats at 400 Erie Street, the festival’s official headquarters.

Festivities will include a live art battle, DJs and music all day, art exhibits, comedians, aerial performances, vendors and more.

The event is free and open to the public



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