It looked so easy – just find a temporary place for a few people to paint weekly until Covid fades away and the Library reopens its Activity Room. Really – with a little grant in hand to cover expenses, how complicated can that be? Surprise!
With the City facilities closed or restricted all summer, and other suitable community spaces (managed by volunteer seniors) not able to handle the additional cleaning and precautions, the Community Arts Council’s “West Side” was the best choice. However, the painters also had personal issues with Covid, with several in at-risk family or work situations. While waiting for life to settle down (i.e. the “new reality,”) we met in pairs to paint when we could. Just the contact needed to make those arrangements kept the painters connected and hopeful.
Then the Arts Council closed to move to a different facility – a better location but the proposed workshop space needs heat and light installed. Fortunately, the new Galley/Gift Shop area has enough floor space for us to set up tables and easels and we can paint there whenever it is not open to the public. Covid precautions are standard practice, with all the cleaning taken care of, masks and disinfecting supplies on hand, and lots of room to physical distance. Painting in the middle of so much creativity is such a bonus.
The Neighbourhood Small Grants program makes a big impact in real lives with these small grants. It triggers creativity by encouraging people to ‘think small’
With the delays in getting started and the pause in October for moving, this project might need to be renamed “Ad Hoc Painters.” However, interest shows no signs of fading and the Arts Council will let us continue indefinitely thanks to our contribution for Covid supplies in lieu of rent. Their workshop renovations will eventually make a regular schedule possible and other painters are becoming interested. This little project could lead to a very interesting future – and a lot more painting – whether or not the original Library space ever becomes available again.
The Neighbourhood Small Grants program makes a big impact in real lives with these small grants. It triggers creativity by encouraging people to ‘think small’ – some activities happened without even applying as people figured out they could “just do it.” Our kudos to whoever thought up this idea and all those who make its potential a reality.