Merissa Grohmann creates a colourful landscape during the Banner Paint In at Glenwood Sports Centre on Sunday.

Merissa Grohmann creates a colourful landscape during the Banner Paint In at Glenwood Sports Centre on Sunday.

Banner painting draws crowd

The Arrowsmith Rotary Club hosted a Banner Paint-In this weekend to decorate the banners that will line the Arts District this summer.

Dozens of vibrant, hand painted banners filled the Glenwood Sports Centre this weekend as part of the Banner Paint-In hosted by the Arrowsmith Rotary Club and the city’s Parks, Recreation and Heritage department.

This was the Rotary’s eighth annual Banner Paint-In. Previous Paint-Ins have been held in the last week of May, but organizers decided to move the event up to Family Day weekend due to low registration, usually caused by conflict with other outdoor activities happening at the same time.

“When it comes to registration, so far this is the best we’ve ever had,” said organizer Larry McGifford, with the Arrowsmith Rotary.

McGifford attributes this to a number of causes: partly because of a partnership with the city’s Parks and Recreation department, as their daily leisure guides have allowed more families to become aware, and partly because of moving the date up.

“Sometimes with events like this, you step back and wonder if you should continue,” he said.

“But with the registration that’s been the best ever, that’s definitely likely to continue.”

Paints and supplies are provided at the Paint-In, and no experience is necessary. McGifford said he was impressed by the number of young painters he saw over the weekend.

“It’s very heartwarming as an organizer to see the amount of youth,” he said. “What we develop in our youth now will have long-reaching benefits.”

He said he has also noticed a surge with “Paint Nites” hosted in the Valley, and noted that a few of the artists have been quite involved with this. “How do you become a professional? You have to start as a junior,” he said. “This is about adding vibrant colour to enhance the arts district, but we’re also enhancing some skills.”

The banners will be hung up at the end of May or beginning of June. McGifford says organizers attempt to coordinate banners based on themes. There will be 88 new banners hung up in the arts district along Argyle Street, running all the way down to Centennial Pier.

“Every banner in this room is a great banner,” he said. “Every banner is different and unique to that artist. When you look at Argyle Street, you can rest assured every one is hand painted by a different artist.”

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