Originally slated for last fall, MIDxMIDWST will debut in September 2021, and will be the area's first mural festival experience. The two-day fest will include a collection of nine local, regional and national mural artists painting live on downtown buildings while festivalgoers watch. There will be two stages with live music, beer gardens, art installments, vendors and an art skatepark. The event will also include a VIP opportunity to mingle with the artists while listening to the headliner band later in the evening. “MIDxMIDWST is a not-for-profit arts and culture initiative focused on elevating artists’ careers and baking new layers of flavor into our art community,” Wagler says.
The event has a non-negotiable approach to make sure all artists and bands are paid respectable wages for their time and creative contributions. “We’re moving the needle on our community’s intent in valuing art and artists,” Wagler says. “It will take time and consistency, but by showing up year after year and not asking for free or devalued work, we’re showing artists locally and abroad that 417-land values what they bring to the table.” Wagler hopes this will increase the retention of artists who already call 417-land home and will give the community a foundation for creative talent acquisition.
Eventually Wagler plans to work on bigger initiatives like establishing a public art residency program. “I don’t believe grass is greener on the other side. I believe it’s green where you water it,” Wagler says. “I have a deep desire to create a really loving, robust and diverse community here in 417-land. The best way I know how to bring that to fruition is through the world’s best connector: art.”