CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: Celebrating the heart of community through art


Impetus by María Moreno

By Fiona Campbell

The Downtown District it about to be infused with creativity, colour and love.

The 1’ x 1’ Heart of Community District Art Project was inspired by global community initiatives such as A World Of Hearts that encourages people to decorate their windows with displays of hearts as messages of hope, happiness and support.

“The idea came out of a Zoom chat with representatives from the galleries in the downtown core. We were looking for a way to breathe some life into the main streets using art during COVID-19 restrictions,” says Marijo Currier, executive director, Belleville Downtown District BIA.

Artists are encouraged to open their minds, hearts and palettes to what the theme “Heart of Community” means to them. The 1X1 format mirrors many of the social media platforms (think Instagram) used on a daily basis.

“Considering social media activity has increased because of the COVID-19 restrictions, it was a way to subtly tie the two together,” says Currier. “Art with a brush is inherently different than art on a screen: both can bring life and community together.”

Local arts organizations – the Belleville Art Association, Gallery 121 and the Parrott Gallery – along with the Quinte Arts Council (QAC), have an active call for submissions to Quinte-based artists for their own interpretation on this theme.

The 1’ x1’ art will be displayed in windows throughout the downtown district starting June 12 and into July. Later in the summer the art will be moved to an outdoor installation for all to enjoy, in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

The pandemic has negatively impacted artists and arts organizations across the board, but we’ve also learned about the power of creation and collaboration to bring joy, cultivate community and foster hope and positivity.

“Artists and arts organizations are, by nature, adaptable, resourceful, resilient and creative, and our team has continued to support Quinte-based artists and found ways to connect, inform and inspire,” says Janet Jarrell, executive director of the QAC. “During COVID-19, we moved our RISE gallery show online, created the #QuintePerforms Facebook contest to support artists who lost gigs, converted our last Umbrella to a digital format, and for our summer issue, appropriately themed “Art in the Time of Isolation: The COVID-19 issue,” we are sponsoring a cover contest for members to share art made during this time of social isolation. The 1 x 1 Project fits perfectly into this direction and mandate to provide opportunity to artists and celebrate art and creativity in Quinte Region.”

The deadline for submission has been extended to Monday June 8, and participating artists have the option for their 1×1 art pieces to be sold or sponsored for a set price of $100.

For more information and for details on drop-off, visit our Calls for Submissions.