The city's shops are closing over safety concerns, and their windows are boarded up. But that doesn't mean everything has to look dreary, and these Vancouver shop murals prove it. A stream of artists are teaming up with an art store to celebrate the work of Canada's health care professionals, and they're breathing colour into the city, one mural at a time.
"It's just amazing for us to share some beauty on the boarded walls of downtown Vancouver right now," artist Breece Austin told Narcity.
One of her works now decorates the barricaded windows of the custom framing and art store Kimprints, in Gastown.
She said not everyone knows the health care professionals working to protect the country, and that "showing their faces really speaks to the community."
"It's something that we wanted to share towards these amazing women, who are working so so hard right now," Austin continued.
The shop's owner Kim Briscoe had to close up amid the pandemic. Like many other stores in the downtown area, her windows were soon boarded shut.
But that didn't stop her from expressing herself.
Austin said that Briscoe first approached her with the idea and they got talking right away.
"She was like, 'Oh, I have this idea!' and immediately I was downtown painting the next day," said Austin.
Narcity reached out to Briscoe for comment and will update this story.
There are only two paintings up right now on their shop — one shows B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, painted by Emily Carr art student Abi Taylor.
Austin painted the other, which shows Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam. But more are coming, so keep your eyes peeled around Gastown for more art.
B.C. health care professionals have worked tirelessly to protect us, and their efforts haven't gone unnoticed. From nightly cheering to city-wide lightshows, B.C. clearly shows they're loved.
And it's thanks to everyone's hard work that half of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province have recovered.
Vancouver's boarded-up shops have got downtown looking like a ghost town for now, but it's artists like Austin who are breathing colour back into the shuttered storefronts.
In fact, she believes the boards on the windows just means more room for painting.
"I think a lot of artists are going to be stepping out and creating some beautiful work."