In yet another testament to the growing popularity of murals in America, The Global Mural Arts & Cultural Tourism Association recently announced that it had chosen the Erie Canal region in upstate New York as the location for its 2016 Global Mural Conference.

One of New York’s two U.S. senators held a news conference in support of the drive to bring the event to the Erie Canal area. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also asked to renew authorization of the Erie Canalway Commission until 2015. The Commission manages tourism as well as artistic improvements to the canal area.

Mural Mania is a project that supports the creation of Erie Canal murals. One of its members went to the 2014 Conference in Quebec and became so inspired by one of its events that he’d like to see it repeated in the Rochester area in 2016.

“I’m blown away, it’s unbelievable,” said Mark DeCracker, who witnessed a concept from this year’s conference of 10 artists “live-painting” murals all at the same time. “I want young artists to see how these murals are painted and be inspired,” he said.

So, why the Erie Canal area for a global mural conference? Same reason that murals are catching on all over the country, says the incoming president of the Conference: The area’s history as well as the passion of the region’s artists.

“You have to be energized and give people the sense that they must be there,” said Serge Malenfant. “All these murals explain all of the historical features and moments of the canal. It’s a win-win situation for us.”

There’s also something special that happens when mural artists paint “live,” says artist Charlie Johnston.

“The beauty of painting murals on location is that you’re reacting to the environment you’re in,” Johnston said. “The most important part behind it I think is to stimulate a dialogue. Whatever your stylistic approach is, it always needs to tell a story.”

You don’t have to wait for a mural conference to come to your town to take advantage of the power of oversized art. Browse through one of our many concept murals, or upload your own image to create the perfect artistic statement for your surroundings. Installation is easy, and our murals can always be safely removed without any damage to your walls.