Isolation smile-maker turns into an artsy Vernon destination

Take the East Hill Artwalk

What started as a way to lift neighbourhood spirits during pandemic lockdowns has grown into an artsy destination on Vernon's East Hill.

Local artist Jude Clarke says she was inspired when a neighbour created a "teddy bear walk" for children in which parents could take their youngsters for a stroll to spot the teddies in people's windows.

Then, one mom put a painting in a window, and Clarke thought: "I wish I could do something."

That something was to dig an old door out of the garage and lean it against her fence for people to sign with encouraging messages.

The "shout-out door" has proved to be a hit, and is covered with notes thanking health-care workers, garbage men, grocery store staff and more.

"Everybody was out walking all of a sudden, and it just took off. It's a neat, feel-good thing," she said.

But that's not all.

Clarke put one of her paintings in her window as well, and now the artsy component has grown to include nine artists, from potters, to photographers, painters and more.

Those involved include Clarke, Svetlana Shkuratova, Emily Fraser, Mary Tremayne, Jeanne Byron, Colleen Faulkner, Shelby Lynde, Shannon Marsh, and Lana Schuster.

A map was created, and the event has become the East Hill Window Artwalk.

Clarke says word spread and people started showing up. "People are meeting; it's a real community thing that has come out of all this that wouldn't have happened otherwise," she said.

And, "when it's OK and safe," the group of artists plans to move outdoors into their gardens and host a walking tour of garden art shows "so people can see more of our work."

Want to check out the tour and the door? Follow the map below. The shout-out door is located on 24th Avenue, just around the corner from 26th Street.

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