How can I find an artist to paint a mural?
Mural Routes network (members are listed in the website directory) or artists’ websites.
You can request a call to artists be sent out by Mural Routes here.

How much should we pay an artist for a mural?
No definitive answer – it should be a professional fee that depends on experience of the artist, size of the mural, accessibility of the site and complexity of the design.

There is a simplified way of calculating and/or estimating the artist fee, with a range between $20-60 per square foot. A lower-budget, simple or amateur mural could be priced at a rate of $20/ sq foot, while a mural by a long-time professional artist in high detail might be priced at as much as $60/ sq foot. Most average projects end up at a rate of between $25-35/ sq. foot.

We also recommend a design fee, which can range from $750-$2,500 based on the size and level of intricacy/research needed for the design.
When hiring assistant artists, we recommend paying at least $20/hr for recent graduates, and between $20-$35/hr depending on their experience level.

For more information about minimum recommended fees for artists, please visit the CARFAC website.

How much does a mural cost?
Same considerations as above, but also includes type of materials, lifting equipment, promotion and administration costs. A budget template can be found here.

To coat or not to coat? Should you use a coating over the mural?
There is still much debate about this issue, but most of the participants agreed with the Mural Routes recommendation not to use coatings if they are being used as only as protection from graffiti. It is cheaper and easier to paint over the occasional tag. Coatings should be used with caution as they can yellow, crack or cause deterioration of the painting. It is a good idea to try and find a coating that will provide some UV protection.

If a mural is painted on paneling, what is the best type of material to use?
Marine grade plywood or sign board (Crezone trade name). Another material is Dibond – an aluminum based product that can be easily cut and shaped.
More info about these materials can be found here.

Do you have a sample contract? Call for artists? Wall owner contracts?
The best book is Artists’ Contracts: Agreements for Visual and Media Artists by Paul Sanderson and Ronald N. Hier published by CARFAC Ontario, 2006. The Mural Production Handbook (published by Mural Routes) also has some sample contracts and advice on what should be covered in a contract.
For more links, see Contracts & Copyrights resources.

What about insurance?
Usually artists are required to provide their own personal liability, accident/injury, insurance. Personal accident insurance for the artist(s) is something that artists should take care of as part of their professional risk management. The organization managing the project should provide third party liability insurance. Third Party injury is essential to cover any incidents that may occur on a mural site; usually provided by the person commissioning the mural. 

In some cases, the lead organization needs to ensure their policy covers everyone involved as a named insured during the duration of the work on site. This is typically done through the addition of a rider to the insurance clause. Those listed as “volunteers” for the organization can fall under their insurance. 

As an artist, how can I find mural work?
Check websites, join networks, check arts publications. Visual Arts Ontario and Mural Routes advertise calls for mural artists. Promote yourself by having a website and on social media.

How do you get permission to paint on a wall?
Contact the owner of the wall. The tenant might be agreeable but does not have the right to give permission. Chain/franchise stores are usually harder to get permission from – go to the top with your request.

How do you find walls?
Drive around, ask around, do an inventory of blank walls. Look for walls with good visibility or have need of improvement. Inspect for potential challenges (damp or other deterioration.) Approach the owners.

How can we promote our murals?
Speak to community groups, local merchants and resident associations; alert local newspapers; and arts newsletters/publications. Send out media releases; contact local councilors. Become a member of Mural Routes and add your community murals to the Mural Map of Canada.

What kind of maintenance do murals need?
This is an ongoing concern. To reduce the risk of potential deterioration, start with a well prepared wall (fixing, cleaning, and priming.) If painting on brick, it is a good idea to some exposed brick unpainted to allow moisture to escape. Wash murals to protect from pollution (gentle washing only should be done by a professional.) Monitor regularly. Create a maintenance fund for more major repairs. Always ask the original artist first if repairs are needed.

Do you worry about graffiti tagging on murals?
Usually murals help eliminate the possibilities of tagging where they exist.

Can vandalism be controlled by murals?
Usually murals help eliminate the possibilities of tagging where they exist.

Who owns the finished mural?
The individual or group that commissioned the mural usually owns the mural; but this should be made clear in a written contract with the wall owner.

Who owns the copyright to the mural?
The artist owns the copyright of the mural (unless this is waived in a written contract.) It is common for the group that commissions or manages a mural project to ask for permission to reproduce images of the mural for promotional purposes. If merchandise is created and sold, such as postcards, prints and posters, an arrangement should be made with the artists regarding payment of royalties for use of the image.