Last weekend heralded in the first big storms of the season.
Unfortunately they hit on what was also to be the inaugural South End "Chalk Walk." An Islander of 50 odd years might have guessed that the end of September wouldn't be the ideal weekend for an outdoor art event - particularly one that is so temporary in nature and in a medium that doesn't mix well with water. In fact, chalk does mix well with water which was exactly the problem. Reviewing our options, "Smears Walk" didn't have quite the same appeal as "Chalk Walk," nor did the idea of crouching on drenched pavement or being sprayed by passing cars. So, we South Enders, being a practical and resilient lot, chalked this up to experience, put on socks, soup and tea and retreated to the great indoors. July 1, 2014, will see us rallying once again for the "First Annual Chalk Walk."
Meanwhile, art lovers equipped with brollies and galoshes can still enjoy some of the South End's more storm-hardy works of street art. Yvonne Vander Kooi is a well-known Nanaimo painter who has supported community creations of public art throughout the city, including on walls, garbage bins and our highly-esteemed South End Tea Wagon.
Yvonne's distinctive paintings can be found adorning the fences of her family's home. Two exotically beautiful birds are pictured in mysterious communion with each other, brightening up the tiny street with their quirky and colourful presence.
One of the lovely things about south Nanaimo's neighbourhoods is the abundance of alleys and the glimpses these afford into backyard gardens and yard art. Jan Smart, another local talent, is perhaps best known for her large and luscious paintings of fruit, two of which liven up a back alley trek to James General Store.
The diptych of sensuous, wellripened pears stands in playful contrast above Jan's partner's collection of more mechanical "artworks." Jan's gifts are also abundantly apparent in her garden and yard design.
A tour through our streets and alleys will reveal many treasures, both practical and whimsical. Delicately wrought gates created from discarded household items, unexpected flowerbeds courtesy of guerilla gardeners and miniature outdoor libraries are all harbingers of what's brewing in the South End.
" Paula Beltgens is a member of the South End Community Association
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