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The Daily Item, by Bill Brotherton

The 'Beyond Walls' Festival was an Economic Boon for Lynn, Study Finds

February 01, 2018

LYNN – It’s no secret that the Beyond Walls project has had a profound effect on the city’s downtown, but you might be surprised just how big that impact has been.

A new impact study by Webb Management Services commissioned by Beyond Walls and MassDevelopment shows that the 10-day international mural festival last July was attended by more than 5,000 Lynn residents and visitors and was an economic bonanza for many businesses.

Duncan Webb, president of the New York City-based management consulting firm that works with many arts and cultural groups, was expected to talk about Beyond Walls’ success and share his findings with members of the Lynn Business Partnership on Friday at the Lynn Museum.

The study shows that 5,235 individuals attended events and watched the mural installations, spending more than $108,000, mostly in local restaurants and bars.

Beyond Walls garnered more than 75 pieces of positive press and 4.5 million social media impressions, accounting for an estimated $407,749 in media coverage. That figure translates to what Beyond Walls would have to spend to reach the 4.5 million print, digital and web readers.

The study, which surveyed more than 225 individuals, shows spin off benefits include people’s sentiments about Lynn improved and attendees stated they would shop and eat downtown more frequently.

“The study shows the effect extended well beyond those 10 days in July,” said Al Wilson, executive director and founder of Beyond Walls, who is gearing up for the 2018 edition, which will kick off with a fundraiser April 5 at Lynn Museum.

Prior to the mural festival, at a variety of community meetings and through surveys, Lynners stated the top priorities included lighting under the elevated MBTA tracks, illuminating sidewalks, and the creation of large-scale public art in and around the city’s downtown. Twenty artists created 15 large-scale works of art that now decorate buildings, enhanced the walkability downtown and continue to draw admirers on a daily basis.

Beyond Walls also hosted seven events that brought together artists and community members. The festival culminated in a Rock the Block party, co-sponsored by Beyond Walls and the Lynn Cultural District, featuring live music, food trucks, vendors, games and activities to celebrate the murals completion.

Wilson said Beyond Walls is planning a second mural festival, August 6 to 19, which will feature new, renowned street artists from around the world as well as local talent. The Beyond Walls team is also looking for new exterior walls in the downtown area. “We would love to hear from building owners and building managers of property in downtown Lynn,” he said. Interested parties can email Wilson or visit the Beyond Walls website.