Mural Fest is held in Sheffield, the Town of Murals in north west Tasmania every year. It attracts many local, interstate and international artists. It is a unique art competition which starts Easter Sunday every year and runs for seven days. Mural Fest first started in 2003; although the very first mural painted in Sheffield was unveiled in 1986. Since then, many more have been added to create a distinctive outdoor art gallery.

Mural - Sheffield, Town of Murals
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Sheffieldm north west Tasmania: Town of Murals

International Mural Fest in Sheffield

by Michelle Kneipp Pegler

Every year nine artists participate in a public “paint off”. They must complete a 2,100mm x 4,800mm mural using a specific poem as the central theme for their inspiration. This year’s poem was Food Bowl by our very own Lorraine McNeair.

The golden bloom of fertility lies on the land
And feeds us with flavour

Lorraine won the Poetry Slam; a competition to decide the poem to be used.

Mural - Gillian Robnik
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Sunnyside Tasmania artist Gillian Robnik’s mural

Mural - Ella Yates
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Iowa USA artist Ella Yates working in Sheffield

Supporting and Challenging Mural Artists

Mural Fest is a testing painting arena for artists. It assesses their artistic talent, patience and persistence while being openly observed by the public, having time limitations and at times dealing with Tasmania’s changeable weather conditions. At the end of the week of painting, a panel of judges choose a winner for the major Mural Fest Judges Award. There is also a Mural Fest Visitors Award for the artist who receives the most votes for favourite painting by visitors and supporters.

Mural - Christian Griffiths
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Previous winner Christian Griffiths: 2012 mural 

During Mural Fest there are other events happening such as Mural Fest Tours, Mural Treasure Hunts, Redwater Creek Steam Train Rides, Mini Murals Painting and Meet the Artists Night. At the Sheffield Tourist Information Centre you’ll find lots of artwork on display and for sale.

Mural - Redwater Creek Railway Steam Train, Sheffield
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Town of Murals: Redwater Creek Railway

Mural - Sheffield Antiques
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Murals and antique shopping in Sheffield

Mural Park, Sheffield

After Mural Fest is over, all the competition murals are kept on display in Mural Park for the following year. During this time all visitors can enjoy these works of art and vote for their favourite piece. The voting is done over the twelve-month period and the artist who receives the most votes is awarded the People’s Choice Award, which is announced at the next Mural Fest.

Sheffield is renowned for its permanent mural displays and since the very first one was painted back in 1986 more than fifty have been added. All have the theme of the area’s history and real life stories of farmers, pioneers and local community leaders.

Mural - Sheffield Paintings
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Mural in Sheffield: permanent display

Mural - Sheffield Emporium
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Sheffield: Food Bowl of the Nation

Michelle Kneipp Pegler writes a blog called Leven River Farm as well as articles like this about the north west coast of Tasmania. If you’d like Michelle to visit you, please contact Think Tasmania.

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Map: Sheffield, Town of Murals, Tasmania…

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