Community Art Boxes
Art boxes start popping up in the Comox Valley
New initiative gives artists a COVID-safe way to exhibit their work
Using the idea of the public sharing libraries – those little book stands that are placed in areas throughout the community – Artsphere Comox Valley has started placing neighbourhood art gallerias in public spaces, for people to view creations from Comox Valley artists.
The project was created by Artsphere Comox Valley member Kate Brown, and her husband, Piet Rutgers, who designed and built the first two boxes, located on the Royston Seaside Trail, and at Kye Bay.
Brown said the idea came after Rutgers saw an article about a similar project in Toronto Island Park.
“There is kind of a folksy community there, and through COVID, these art boxes were sprouting up,” said Brown. “So Piet contacted the fellow who started the project on Toronto Island… then Piet made me one as a Christmas gift. That was the first one, on Royston Trail.”
The art displayed in the box is changed weekly – and Brown’s neighbours always ensure the Royston Trail box is regularly updated.
“We have been getting tremendous response from the neighbours,” she said. “They come by, look at the birds, then admire the art. They will say ‘you haven’t changed your art yet’ and I tell them it’s not Saturday yet.”
Ann Zanbilowicz commissioned Rutgers to build the Kye Bay box, and Brown said to expect more art boxes to pop up soon, as other Artsphere members have expressed interest in getting their own.
Rutgers has the basic design plans available for anyone who wants to build one themselves.
“We are leaving it up to people’s imagination, but we are encouraging them to put their own artistic bend to it,” said Brown. “More members are joining in. I know there are someone up the Crown Isle way (planning to build one), someone in Valleyview, and one in the Puntledge area. And I think there is a potters’ group in Merville that are interested in building one as well.”