How Stella Artois Is Using Street Art to Support the Hospitality Industry

The beer brand teamed up with Montreal's MURAL Festival to create a vibrant, 140-foot-long floor mural that aims to get people back to bars—in a safe way.

'Together Apart Street Art' is a large-scale outdoor art installation on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. The 140-foot-long mural uses shapes, lines, and vibrant contrasting colors to direct pedestrian flow and encourage social distancing.
"Together Apart Street Art" is a large-scale outdoor art installation on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. The 140-foot-long mural uses shapes, lines, and vibrant contrasting colors to direct pedestrian flow and encourage social distancing.
Photo: Courtesy of Stella Artois

MONTREAL—Outdoor dining in Montreal just got a bit more colorful—and safe—with the help of Stella Artois and MURAL Festival.

The Belgian beer brand and the urban art festival have teamed up to launch "Together Apart Street Art," a large-scale outdoor art installation on the city's popular Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Local artist Francorama (a.k.a., Franco Égalité) covered the area between Sherbrooke and Mont-Royal with a 140-foot-long mural that uses shapes, lines, and vibrant contrasting colors to direct pedestrian flow and encourage social distancing.

The mural comes from Montreal artist Francorama.The mural comes from Montreal artist Francorama.Photo: Courtesy of Stella ArtoisThe goal? To get people back to bars and restaurants in a safe way. The mural debuted on Aug. 13 and will be visible until Aug. 23. Consumers can make a reservation at the two participating restaurants, SuWu and Warehouse, to enjoy a meal—and a Stella, of course—while seated at hand-painted tables within the installation.

"[Stella Artois has] always been about bringing people together over food, over music, over art, over entertainment—and we wanted to do it in a safe way that respects all the guidelines as people slowly return to bars and restaurants," explained Todd Allen, vice president of marketing at Labatt Breweries of Canada. Supporting the hospitality industry is also a major component of the company's mission, he added. 

The MURAL Festival, which is typically a two-week show in June and runs until Sept. 20, was a natural fit for the concept. This year, organizers launched the MURAL "Estival," a three-month-long event featuring virtual mural visits and performances, plus physical works in street corridors. “This global pandemic has impacted every aspect of the local economy through to large annual cultural festivals like MURAL,” said Nicolas Munn, president of MURAL Festival, in a press release. “So when Stella Artois approached us with the idea of reimagining the festival in a way that allows us to pursue our mission of democratizing the arts to support local business and residences while adhering to social distancing protocols, we knew we had to get involved.” Consumers can make a reservation at the two participating restaurants, SuWu and Warehouse, to enjoy a meal—and a Stella, of course—while seated at hand-painted tables within the installation.Consumers can make a reservation at the two participating restaurants, SuWu and Warehouse, to enjoy a meal—and a Stella, of course—while seated at hand-painted tables within the installation.Photo: Courtesy of Stella Artois

Stella Artois is no stranger to out-of-the-box, arts-driven activations, such as its human-operated vending machine at last fall's 29Rooms in Toronto. "Historically, we've done our own kind of immersive dining, music, and art experiences with Stella Artois Le Savior and Stella Artois Sensorium," said Allen. "We like to bring people together over a meal and over art."

Montreal is the second stop in Stella Artois's global initiative, which debuted in the U.K. in early July with outdoor floor murals from Shepard Fairey. The brand plans to bring the concept to six more countries—the United States, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, Mexico, and Argentina—in the coming months.

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