Throughout the first half of June, the people of Erie should expect a few blocks and buildings to start looking a bit different.

The Views Festival is implementing several murals to transform the visual landscape of Erie.

The Views Festival isn’t just about creating eye popping visuals for people to appreciate, but also to mark safe passage for some through a unique partnership.

The City of Erie has become a canvas for professional muralists from all around the world.

Erie Arts and Culture has been dedicated to bringing the urban-based art, inspired by other street festivals in bigger cities, right here to Erie.

But there’s a larger motivation behind the art, to help mark safe walking paths, along with United Way of Erie County, for kids who don’t have access to buses or other public transportation.

“We want to support this. We want to put murals on all of these paths that you’ve identified to be safe for the kids. We want to inspire the community, inspire the kids. They see themselves in the murals,” said Anne O’Dell, executive director of Erie Arts and Culture.

The artists come from many cultures and walks of life from around the world.

One artist working on their mural Sunday afternoon shared where they came up with inspiration for this mural in particular.

“I draw a lot of inspiration from my Chinese background, so there are a lot of mythical creatures,” said Stevie Shao, a Seattle-based illustrator and muralist. “Maybe tiger type, dragon type, things. So, I wanted to base this drawing off of a children’s story called Ferdinand the bull. It’s about a bull that is very gentle nature and appreciates the small things.”

Shao said visual language is highly universal, adding that everybody takes something different away from it, making large scale public art unique from other art forms.

“Those involved in the project are saying that a goal of it is to create several high-quality works that can be viewed on the street level,” Shao went on to say.

O’Dell added that public art is a sort of living museum.

“It’s a wonderful way to document a community’s culture, what they love, what they thrive on, and it’s amazing to see it evolve over time,” she told us.

O’Dell said that they’ll continue to upkeep the murals around town, hoping to engage the community constantly.

By the end of the Views Festival, 27 new murals will be in place around the city, with a total reaching 40:

  • Ally Grimm 559 E. 23rd
  • Jeremy Biggers 1108 Parade
  • Dustin Harewood 1012 E. 11th
  • Stevie Shao 202 E. 10th 
  • Betsy Casanas 1307 State ST. FEED
  • Mz Icar 1020 Holland 
  • Ceasar Westbrook 702 Parade
  • Joel Brennan 119 E. 12th
  • Ashley Pastore 650 East Ave. 
  • Jessica Borchart 732 Liberty Street 
  • Ileecia Moffatt/Sage Hulingues 2116 Ash St. 
  • Sarah Howard 155 E. 25th
  • Tara Shannon 321 Holland
  • Stephanie Kooser Travers 1022 Liberty, Sal Val
  • Jason Amatangelo 501 Ash St. 
  • Steve Mik 2334 East Lake Rd. 
  • Christina Wolfe/Scott Quezada 254 East 10th 
  • Antonio Howard SW corner of 3rd and Parade
  • Angie Jennings TBD
  • Raina Harden/Precious Thompson TBD
  • Cally Paperelli TBD

The festival goes until June 13.