Waterloo wants your COVID-19 artwork, Kitchener launches poster campaign

Staff at the City of Waterloo are hoping to collect pandemic-inspired poetry, paintings, photos and signs from residents in a new art project and future exhibition.

Sonya Poweska is a culture program specialist with the city. She said social media is full of stories and photos of people putting up signs with messages for each other or health-care and front-line workers, sidewalk chalk and window art.

“We know that we’re all cooped up inside and we really wanted to give people in the [city] an opportunity to share some of the good news and the good, kind things that are happening in the community,” she said. “We noticed a lot of it is taking place through artwork.”

Poweska said the city wants residents to share written pieces or take photos of their pandemic art and submit it online. The artwork will be shared on the Create Waterloo social media accounts and, when the time is right, will be printed and put up in exhibits in city-owned facilities.

“It will be a time where we can reflect on some of the great things that happened in the community even though we’re isolated from each other,” she said.

Poweska said art is a great way for everyone to get involved, no matter the talent level.

“We’re turning to art because it’s a universal language. It’s something that we can all use. You don’t even really need to be artistic to communicate through text or images on your driveways, signs in your windows,” she said. “It’s just a common way where we can all band together and do something when it feels like we can’t do anything.”

Kitchener launches ‘thanks’ campaign

Kitchener has also launched a city-wide campaign called #KitchenerSaysThanks.

Part of it is a poster component, where people are encouraged to print off a sign template, or create one of their own, to show what they’re thankful for in the city. People can then put the signs up in their windows or doors and also share them on social media using the hashtag.

The city is also hosting an online concert series with local artists. Each Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m., there will be a different event on the city’s Facebook page. The Tuesday events are geared more for children while Thursday is for the whole family.

Musician Erick Traplin is set to perform Tuesday morning and Rufus John will perform Thursday evening this week.

In a video message, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said the city has always taken pride in helping each other.

“There’s been no shortage of kindness and caring exhibited by our residents,” Vrbanovic said. “Let’s all focus on the things we can be thankful for during this challenging time.”

Spring contest in Cambridge

Cambridge also had an art challenge for residents called Spring From Home. Residents were challenged to decorate windows and sidewalks with spring-themed images.

The deadline for submissions was Sunday.

The Region of Waterloo has also asked people to contribute their thoughts and artwork about the pandemic to the regional archives.

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