Heather Cameron, who curates what’s known as the “Alley Galley” on her fence, came up with the idea when her son was in kindergarten three years ago.
“He would come home with a whole bunch of art and I ran out of room and I didn’t really know where to put it – it was overwhelming,” she said.
“So I just started stapling it to my fence.”
Her neighbour, she said, loved the idea and wanted to see more.
“We decided to up the ante — get frames, make it official, do a show, get other artists and it took off from there.”
This is the third year for the Alley Galley, which showcases 20 neighbourhood artists, ranging in age from two to 15.
“We have a mystery artist, as well, whose age is marked as infinite — and that’s just all I can tell you there,” Cameron laughed.
Cameron takes time to laminate paper works before placing them inside frames spray-painted gold, while sculptures get a lacquer coat to protect from the elements.
From there, Cameron’s partner does the technical work of making it all come together along their fence that borders an alley.
“It’s taking a space that is sometimes a little bit trashier — like literally, there’s a lot of garbage in this alley — and it’s beautifying it in some way,” she said.
The Alley Galley also offer a theme each year, such as “feather and bone” and “floral monstrosities.”
Cameron said this year’s theme, alley elixir, asked the young artists to reflect on the times.
“How do they want people to feel? How could they maybe potentially heal somebody or make someone feel better? How could their art make a difference?” she said.
Cameron’s now eight-year-old son, Oliver Dunn, created a sculpture for this year’s Alley Galley.
“It’s called a kodama. They’re like tree spirits that sometimes will plant trees and stuff,” Dunn said, adding he also created little paper versions for people to spot around the area.
Cameron said the feedback to this year’s Alley Galley has been positive.
“We can see from our window just people walking by and stopping and smiling and coming up close and looking at it,” she said.
“It’s nice for us too because we, at a safe distance, can connect with the people that are coming by… it’s a real sweet little connection point.”