Excellence on Main Award

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Great River Arts Festival

Awardee: Vancouver's Downtown Association and Local Boy Tatau

Award: Community Partnership

Year: 2023

City: Vancouver

The Community Partnership Award is an annual award that recognizes a Main Street program and partners who have demonstrated the highest and best degree of cooperation to benefit downtown revitalization efforts. This year, that award honored the collaboration between Vancouver’s Downtown Association (VDA) and local tattoo business Local Boy Tatau to produce the first-ever Great River Arts Festival in the fall of 2022.

The Great River Arts Festival aimed to foster a sense of unity and pride in the city’s cultural heritage by creating multicultural murals throughout downtown Vancouver. Local Boy Tatau engaged a diverse group of local and world-renowned artists, while the VDA garnered support from downtown property owners. Together, they carefully matched each artist with a specific wall space downtown, taking into account the artist’s style and the building’s unique features. They also rallied business and resident support to help cover projects costs and artist fees. Across seven weeks, more than 20 murals were painted across downtown Vancouver.

A project a widespread and meaningful as this one could not have occurred without the impressive partner model—including the VDA, Local Boy Tatau, property owners, business owners, and residents—that came together to produce the Great River Arts Festival.