ELORA – Local artist Bear Epp and volunteers are adding a splash of colour to businesses in downtown Elora.
After seeing online posts from local families who put rainbows in their windows, Epp researched and found out it is being done across the world. The Elora resident of 10 years wanted to spread joy and cheer to her town.
“I just thought I’d do it downtown in my town,” Epp said.
The businesses get more than just a rainbow, each gets a unique icon or character that represents their business. Epp aims to make them child friendly and cuter than she normally would.
“Bear painted a plate with a village on top of the plate under the rainbow,” said Sarah Barber who owns The Evelyn restaurant with her husband. “A nice reminder that we will be open again, feeding the village we love.”
Colleen Lucas, manager of Mermaid in Elora, got an anchor on her store which she felt reflects a lot of the nautical themed items they sell.
The rainbows and icons don’t take long to paint but there is some prep work that goes into it.
“I’m designing them and I have them printed, enlarged and the merchants put them up on the windows beforehand,” Epp said. “When we get there, I’m looking at the image and able to reproduce it really quickly.”
This art project is at no charge to the business run by volunteers. Epp expressed gratitude towards Elora-Fergus tourism for covering the cost of materials.
Lucas said she thinks it would be a great activity for families to explore downtown Elora to see the different paintings as long as they practice physical distancing.
“Everyone is just really excited by the project … and they look forward to seeing more,” Epp said.
“The images are fabulous,” Barber said. “They are a cheerful reminder that we will survive this unprecedented time and we will be back.”
Elora BIA chair Jonathan Laurencic said by email that the work Epp is doing is a welcomed bit of positivity in a time that has otherwise been hard on local businesses and residents.
“It’s this type of creativity that has allowed Elora to flourish with such a vibrant sense of community,” Laurencic said.
Epp normally hooks traditional rugs, art facilitating and art events coordinating through her business Common Craft Elora. She has now found herself with extra time to spread joy to the community.
“I think we have time to spend volunteering in our community which is important,” Epp said. “For me that’s just how I would be able to express myself. I can’t sew so I can’t make masks, this is just one way to spread a positive message.”