Ava Hutton’s creative window art on St. Patrick’s Day first sparked the idea of home galleries for her mother, Langley Arts Council coordinator Nicole Hutton, who is challenging the rest of Langley to do the same. (Nicole Hutton/Special to the Aldergrove Star)

PHOTOS: Curating through crisis: Langley artists share galleries from home

Langley Arts Council inspires artists of all kinds to stay home, self-isolate, and create

“Are you stuck at home with the kids and need a creative outlet? Are you an artist who would love a creative way to exhibit and show your artwork while stuck at home?”

It’s a question being posed by the Langley Arts Council during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis – which has provincial health officials urging citizens to isolate in their homes to prevent the spread of the virus.

Photographs of home art galleries are now popping up online as Lower Mainland artists share their latest spark of creativity whilst in the self-isolation.

The trend was first spurred on by Langley Arts Council (LAC) facilitators who saw a need to replace commercial outlets like galleries and art shows that have closed in face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted to create an online exhibit space for our membership of artists to keep them engaged and creating,” explained coordinator Nicole Hutton.

The arts council, headquartered inside the Kinsmen Community Centre in Aldergrove, shut its doors on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This included halting its community arts programming and facility rentals.

Hutton first awoke to the idea for an Art in Found Spaces (AIFS) Home Gallery challenge from her 10-year-old daughter, Ava, who found a way to connect with her neighbours last week – even at a distance.

“She created a home gallery using our windows to display her art, for people going on walks around the neighbourhood getting some air,” her mother said.

Ava even added her own gallery sign, and on St. Patrick’s Day, she invited neighbours to come view her pencil crayon-created leprechaun and pot-of-gold artwork.

“She brought a smile to those who passed by our house,” Hutton explained.

The coordinator admitted she’s witnessed a silver lining to the public health crisis in Langley.

“It is the creativity I have seen emerging. Everyone has been forced to think outside of the box and become just a little more creative,” Hutton said.

The arts council first launched its home gallery – AIFS initiative on Wednesday, March 18.

READ MORE: Chalk it up to positivity

By Saturday, Lower Mainland artists of all ages and experience levels shared more than a dozen works of art using #HomeGalleryLAC and #HomeAIFS hashtags.

“Professional artists, we want you too. We want to see all the beautiful things everyone is creating during these trying times,” the organization encouraged online.

“Pencil art, lego art, drawings, paintings, clay, Play-Doh, you name it… we want to see it.”

Hutton believes that with more exposure, the home gallery movement “could reach into every home,” giving Lower Mainland residents the opportunity to connect creatively “in a time when in-person connection has to be limited.”

It’s also a way to quell the boredom of being confined mostly to their home, she said.

Artists can also share their work with the organization over email at galleries@langleyarts.ca. On Fridays the arts council will repost its favourites online.

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