County Colours highlights community connections during COVID-19

COUNTY COLOURING-There are many scenes to choose from in the County Colours colouring book. (Submitted Photo)
SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

The current health crisis has given birth to myriad forms of creative connection-one such local project is the County Colours colouring book. The project is a collaboration between PEC Parents and Life Au Lait magazine.

PEC Parents is an online resource for parents to access information about programs, activities and events for children in the county.

The resource was created by Andrea Dawes as a way for parents such as herself to conveniently access information for events and activities pertaining to children in the County.

When we moved to the County with our then two year old, I found it difficult to track down detailed information about the many children’s programs, activities, and events in the area. The idea behind the PEC Parents site was to build a one-stop online resource for County parents and kids,” said Dawes. “While my main focus is on kid-friendly information and happenings, I’ve also had great feedback from the broader community on some recent posts like the County guides to navigating the Covid-19 pandemic and safe and local Mother’s Day shopping. I’m looking forward to seeing how the site continues to evolve to meet the community’s needs.”

Dawes described the collaboration with Life Au Lait as being a way to connect people, mainly children, with local people and places during this time of isolation.

A few weeks into the isolation period, it became pretty clear that day cares and schools wouldn’t be reopening anytime soon, and kids would continue to be cut off from friends, family, and their local haunts,” Dawes explained. “We were also starting to hear inspiring stories of our essential workers and folks helping fellow residents in need. A colouring book seemed like the perfect way to create a visual time capsule of County life during the pandemic and provide residents of all ages with a safe, fun, and relaxing way to keep busy and connected to their beloved local people and places.”

Dawes described that while the idea of County Colours was percolating, she heard a call for submissions from Lonelle Selbo of Life Au Lait.

The County Colours book became ‘Project 001’ in an exciting series of ‘Co-Labs’ and Lonelle’s incredible enthusiasm, many and varied talents, and County connections were crucial to bringing the project to life,” said Dawes.

The project features 11 local artists who work in varied styles, all working with the theme ‘County scenes during the time of COVID-19’.

There are depictions of pandemic life, including neighbourhood walks by Angela Lavender, distancing at the dog park by Celia Sage, an artist studio still life by Krista Dalby, forest-/home-schooling by Marc Keelan-Bishop, and embracing new ways of connecting depicted by Kamee Abrahamian,” Dawes noted.

There are also portraits of healthcare workers by Niall Eccles, musicians by Milé Murtanovski, and food and beverage makers by Susan Smythe-Bishop.

Other local artists include Andrew Csafordi, Kate Golding and Stew Jones.

Dawes described the heart of the project as being the artists’ willingness to share their talents.

This is a challenging time for everyone, artists included, and the project had a quick turnaround time,” said Dawes. “But, any recruitment concerns dissipated once we started to receive encouraging positive responses from the artists.”

The community response has been wonderful, Dawes stated, with over 200 people having already downloaded the colouring book.

As well, she added the County Colours Facebook group has almost 150 members. From families with children to those in long-term care facilities, the colouring book has offered a creative escape for many.

Anyone can share their coloured pages, and County-based colourers who share have a chance to win a $50 gift card for Picton’s Books & Company,” noted Dawes. “We’ve had whole families get in on the fun, youth club leaders share the book with their members, and long-term care facilities print out copies for their residents. The infusion of colour and heartwarming stories is really the perfect antidote to these difficult times.”

The colouring book can be downloaded at lifeaulait.com.

To view some of the submitted works or to submit yourself, visit the County Colours Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1697611540385865/

And, for parents interested in a one-stop resource for community wide happenings for their kids, please visit: http://pecparents.ca/.