Kaylee Waines chalked an inspirational message on her parents’ driveway. (Contributed)

Shuswap residents use art to lift neighbours’ spirits amid COVID-19 crisis

Whether the medium is chalk, paper or paint the message is encouraging.

With social distancing now the norm, some Shuswap residents are using artwork and crafts to encourage and connect with their neighbours.

A highly visible example of this is an enormous heart chalked onto the pavement of an intersection in Canoe. At the centre of the red heart are the words, “this too shall pass.”

Artist Whitney Collins said she chose the words to offer her neighbours some encouragement.

“I feel like that’s what the world needs to hear right now with all this scare,” she said.

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Collins’ heart isn’t the only expression of support chalked onto the streets and sidewalks of Canoe. Shannon Hagel Ross said there are buckets of chalk outside the Canoe Village Market and her house and lots of people are getting in on the fun.

Another chalk project which has spread through a Salmon Arm neighbourhood was started by a pair of young girls who live next door to each other but can’t play together as usual due to concerns around COVID-19. Jessica Goettling told The Observer her five-year-old daughter Kacey is usually inseparable from her next door neighbour and best friend Kaylee Waines. While the two keep to their separate driveways, they’re chalking positive messages facing the road. Kacey’s reads “stay positive” while Kaylee drew “be happy” in large colourful letters.

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Goettling said soon after the girls were done chalking up their masterpieces, the residents of one of the neighbouring houses came out and chalked “keep smiling” at the end of their driveway.

Isolation has provided a chance for indoor art as well. Julie Mitchell organized some positive arts and crafts both at home and at work. At home, she and her kids Haydn and Sophia cut our paper hearts, marked them with messages of encouragement and taped them to their front window. At the daycare she works at, Mitchell and the kids there painted the windows in a geometric pattern with the word “smile” featured prominently in the centre.

Mitchell said the artwork is all about showing the people outside that they are there thinking about them and offering encouragement during the surreal times the pandemic has created.


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Kacey Goettling chalked an inspirational message on her parents’ driveway. (Contributed)

Haydn and Sophia Mitchell write encouraging messages on paper hearts and place them in the front window of their home for passersby. (Contributed)

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