The walls of Whanganui are no stranger to street murals. But last weekend, new life was breathed onto them as part of the Whanganui Walls Street Art Festival.

Among the creations, a freshly painted piece by well known American artist Pat Perry.

Located in the town centre, it's one of the most visible of the new murals, but there are plenty more to discover.

"The audiences have been amazing. We've been really spoilt with the amount of locals that have come down and told us stories about the people being painted," said V Hoy, a mural artist and art student at EIT. "Apparently Pat started painting [Edith Collier] on her birthday which Pat didn't even realise."

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While the portrait of local artist, Edith Collier is significant to Whanganui, there was no set brief for those taking part, many of them full-time mural painters from around the world.

Many of the art students appreciated meeting visiting artists who paint murals for a living. They leapt at the opportunity to volunteer and paint their own walls.

"It's a more practical approach, you're seeing people who are doing it as a job," Samuel James Savage said. "It makes it seem more achievable."

As environmental concerns reach into every business, the use of aerosols is declining in favour of more environmentally friendly practices.

"Spray paint is really harmful to the environment" said Hoy. "So a lot of artists are moving towards the spray guns, away from spray paint because aerosol and air bourne paint is a real problem."

As well as international mural artists, a Japanese photographer flew in to document the project for perpetuity on the internet. And the actual murals will stay on in Whanganui, until someone paints over them.

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