The ever-popular Wall to Wall festival returns to Benalla in March and next year’s event will shine a spotlight on female artists.
The festival is being run earlier than previous years to coincide with the Labour Day weekend in the hopes of maximising attendance.
Wall to Wall Committee chair Roxanne Demasson said next year’s program was in the process of being confirmed.
‘‘We’ve pretty much got the program outlined. The artists names will be released in the new year,’’ Ms Demasson said.
‘‘At the moment we are going through wall confirmation. We are getting permits and once that’s all signed the artists will be assigned to a wall, which is when we’ll officially announce who is painting what.
‘‘There will be some returning artists, but there’s going to be a lot of female artists this year.
‘‘We’re really trying to push the emphasis this year to include a lot of female artists.’’
In news that might upset some locals, who may have become attached to the artwork from previous years, a decision has been made to paint over some existing works.
‘‘We have chosen to repaint some of the walls,’’ Ms Demasson said.
‘‘People do get very attached to the works, but it’s really important to keep the footprint of the festival localised.
‘‘For example on the old SEC building, the two major outside walls, each year from now on, they’re going to be a part of the festival. So they will be painted over.
‘‘The middle one has a caveat on it, and that will stay, but the other two will be the major centrepiece of future festivals.
‘‘We want to keep major walls for the big artists that come into town and to keep the flow of people in the CBD, which is why we’ve chosen key walls that will be re-painted.’’
Ms Demasson said the decision had been difficult as people in town had become attached to the artwork.
‘‘The feedback we’ve got from the artists is that they can’t believe that the walls have lasted this long,’’ she said.
‘‘Not a piece has been touched, and for them, they’re used to the experience of their work being painted over and being tagged.
‘‘So it’s amazing the respect that the community has for the Wall to Wall art.’’
Organisers are seeking volunteers to help in the build up to the festival and during the festival weekend.
They are also seeking expressions of interest for ‘‘sidekick-events’’ to run alongside the festival.