Community Story: ZARTSPLACE

Painting their way through the pandemic, Canmore siblings Zaden, 9, and Zaylia, 8, spent enough time at artsPlace over the summer it could be renamed ZartsPlace.

The young duo put their zeal for all things arts and crafts into a few projects and programs, including the Canmore Festival of Art and Creativity, the Keep One, Gift One initiative, and the Community Mural Project. Accompanied during these activities by their mother, Beth Durupt, and grandfather, Paul Chidley, the visits to artsPlace became a fun way for the three-generational family (who’ve had four generations of artists) to create together while connecting with the community.

“Our COVID-restricted summer was not what we had planned, but staying within our community became more important than ever as we discovered what the valley has to offer,” says Beth, who has lived in the Bow Valley for 15 years. “One of Zaden’s favourite memories from the summer was the three days of crafts at artsPlace, including the Keep One, Gift One workshops, which helped bring smiles to seniors. I’m so thankful to artsPlace for creating that memory for him.”

At first, Zaden and Zaylia thought it was a bit zany to give one of their masterpieces away, but after Beth explained that it would be seniors receiving the gifts, they loved the idea and began to think about what would make the recipients happy to see in the renditions of the Three Sisters Mountains they were painting. Later, the Durupt family was chosen to present the gifts, so they got to witness reactions from Bow River Seniors Lodge residents firsthand. Zaden enjoyed explaining how all the art was made but before he could add that the mountain paintings would bring some Canmore scenery into their rooms, one of the seniors commented that it was going to be so nice to see the Three Sisters on days she couldn’t get outside. Afterward, Zaylia exclaimed, “They were all so happy! The art was an amazing gift.”

The Durupt family also participated in the Community Mural Project, painting their own individual tiles – a bird for Zaylia and a dog sled scene for Zaden. These tiles will now be two of the hundreds of tiles in the collaborative mural made as a tribute to health care workers that will be gifted to the Canmore General Hospital.

“I can’t wait to take them to the hospital to see their pieces in the mural,” says Beth.

Until then, you can find them (along with their new artist in training Zowen, who was born in October) at artsPlace because whenever Zaylia and Zayden hear something is happening, they want to be involved.

“Creating art at artsPlace allows me to be with my children and for us to participate in events as a family. At the same time, these events still allow each of us to mold the experience into what we like most within our own creativity.”