Members of an art co-operative in Whitehorse are planning to create works before a sidewalk audience — anyone who wants to come by to watch — over the next several weeks.
“It keeps us alive as a gallery, it keeps us thinking about what we’re doing and looking forward, instead of just staying home and feeling miserable,” Virginia Wilson said with a chuckle.
She’s one of the 21 members who make up the Yukon Artists @ Work gallery. The group closed its gallery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is allowing private viewings for a few people at a time.
Wilson said she came up with the idea of doing a “window event.” On Thursday, the landscape artist started painting a view of downtown Whitehorse based off of a sketch she made last year from the top of the Whitehorse clay cliffs.
Wilson’s “studio” in the gallery’s storefront on Fourth Avenue consists of a space about the size of a small elevator, surrounded by windows on three sides.
She said about a couple of dozen people stopped to see what she was doing over the three days of her project.
“One young lady actually was here for an hour and a half yesterday,” Wilson said on Saturday. “I kept looking up and she was still there, which meant I couldn’t take any breaks.”
She said she was also amazed at the number of people who walked by without noticing what she was doing.
“They are actually oblivious to the fact that I’m here in the window painting my heart out. They’re looking at their phones.”
Wilson said a different member of the co-operative will create art in the space each week between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Thursday to Saturday. She said the first six weeks are already filled up.
Wilson said she hopes the feeling she gets from painting wears off on the window-viewers.
“I hope I’ve improved the day of a few of these people because I’m enjoying what I do, and I hope they enjoy it, too.”