“Be A Tourist in Your Own Town” is a 10-part collaboration between Castanet and Travel Penticton, highlighting ways to enjoy the city. Watch for it every Monday morning.
With B.C. Premier John Horgan and Dr. Bonnie Henry still urging British Columbians to stay close to home -- especially during the long weekend -- local service providers have found a creative way to promote Penticton and its people.
Travel Penticton, the Penticton Arts Council and local artists collaborated on a free colouring book titled “Dream Now. Visit Later,” featuring Penticton landmarks and landscapes like the iconic Peach and Penticton sign.
The hope is that the colouring pages will provide an escape for locals and passionate Penticton visitors alike to express their pride in Penticton, said organizers.
“The colouring pages is a real opportunity to showcase our local talent and also showcase Penticton,” said Penticton Arts Council administrator Bethany Handfield who worked on the project alongside Travel Penticton.
Just like every other sector of society, the arts community has been severely impacted by Covid-19, she said.
“This is the start of high season for artists who show their work at festivals, markets and are part of programs and exhibitions which are all not happening now,” said Handfield. “That’s why more than ever, we need to support our local talent. The colouring pages is a great way to do that. The artists were paid for this project. That’s very important to us and to them.”
Among the local artists who contributed to the colouring book are Skylar Pennets, Lindsay Peltz, Bibiana Hooper, Ariane Kamps, Bobi McMillan and Carla O’Bee.
“We want everyone to remember how wonderful our area is and to celebrate what makes Penticton so special,” said Thom Tischik, executive director of Travel Penticton.
Copies of the colouring book will be distributed to children, youth and seniors in need who are receiving art supply care packs from the Penticton Arts Council and Foundry Penticton.
“These art supply care packs are designed for creative self-care and support for homeschooling,” said Handfield.
The arts council is providing art packs to 175 children and 80 seniors thanks to generous local donations.
“The Foundry and the Arts Council wanted to make sure the colouring books were included in the art packs because not every family and senior has a computer or printer. Inclusion and being barrier-free is very important to us,” Handfield explained.
“In the children’s pack, there is construction paper, pencils, pipe cleaners, google-y eyes, crayons and more. I think it is a good variety of supplies that can be used in so many different ways.”
The arts council lost all its revenue from rentals, exhibitions and programs that they usually host.
“We had to quickly start thinking of how we could still offer people a connection to art,” she said.
That’s when they moved the Arts Matter Online, with many artists providing Facebook Live art tutorials and digital workshops. The annual Brilliant Moments exhibitions, featuring 34 artists who paint with wax, has been moved online and can be viewed at www.pentictonartscouncil.com.
The Leir House will remain closed, Handfield said.
“We will have our programming online but we have no immediate plans to open at this point.”
However, bringing everything online has brought a new opportunity for the arts council.
“We are thinking of twinning all of our content online when we open again. That way everyone who loves the Okanagan and its artists can see what we are doing.”
Penticton Art Gallery has also brought some exhibitions and its permanent collections online for virtual viewing. They have free downloads of varied colouring pages created by local artists as well as other creative avenues found under PAG At Home.
Those who participated in JCI’s Stay At Home Gala on May 2 were entertained by a good variety of local talent. The virtual gala was part of a national initiative that raised over $6,000 locally and $580,000 across Canada. Thousands across the country, and here in Penticton, stayed at home to enjoy all the same experiences of a formal fundraising gala.
“The Stay At Home Gala is a way for us to bring positivity to our community while raising funds for those that need it most during this unprecedented time,” said organizer Harpreet Sidhu. “We are really happy with the support we received from the community.”
Local artists made the evening extra special including singer Aiden Mayes, Ryan Michael who performed a magic show and mixologist Jon Cote from Craft Corner Kitchen created the Penticton drink using Hester Creek Cab Merlot and Maple Leaf Spirits maple liqueur, said Sidhu.
On the same day as the gala, JCI held its annual food drive, raising $2,900 in cash and 2,900 pounds of food.
“We were so happy with the turnout of support from our community.”
JCI Penticton is holding another food drive June 20.