Project unfolds in Penticton’s downtown

Umbrella Project raising funds for city’s arts and culture committee

Co-chair Charlie Utz of the  Arts and Culture committee shows off some of the colourful pieces that make up the Umbrella Project. The umbrellas are part of a fundraising effort and will be on display Saturday at Gyro Park.

Co-chair Charlie Utz of the Arts and Culture committee shows off some of the colourful pieces that make up the Umbrella Project. The umbrellas are part of a fundraising effort and will be on display Saturday at Gyro Park.

This Saturday, Gyro Park is going to be an explosion of colour as the arts and culture committee shows off the results of their latest fundraising project during the community market.

The Umbrella Project invited local businesses and organizations to sponsor a large patio-style umbrella, which would then be painted by a local artist. The work is mostly finished and the committee is gathering them all together before distributing them to the sponsoring businesses for display through the summer season.

“We had 35 artists painting on them and 28 are back,” said Charlie Utz, co-chair of the arts and culture committee. He has hopes that all 35 will be back in time for the Saturday show. “We’re hoping everyone comes out to see the completed umbrellas in Gyro Park. It should be an incredibly visual display.”

Utz said the fundraising project was embraced by local artists and now they are hoping the enthusiasm spreads through the community.

“We were overwhelmed. We had way more requests than umbrellas and even had to turn some artists down,” said Utz, who tried to order more of the umbrellas, but the supplier could only send five more in time.

The list of artists that have joined up with the Umbrella Project is an impressive one, including Terry Isaac,  John Salsnek, Johann Wessels, Maiya Robbie, Reasha Wolfe and many others.

“It exceeded our expectations,” said Utz. Proceeds during each step of the process will be held in trust for future art projects by the arts and culture advisory committee and used to support future public art and cultural projects in the city.

Once the umbrellas are redistributed to their summer homes, a guide will be produced listing all the locations where they can be found, and made available at the Visitors Information Centre, Downtown Penticton markets and other locations for guests to pick up and follow the trail of colourful umbrellas.

The Umbrella Project is seeking additional sponsors who are willing to showcase the umbrellas. Businesses and private donors can sponsor and host an umbrella from June to September for $300. In September, sponsors will be invited to permanently purchase their umbrellas for $200. If they choose not to purchase it, the umbrella will then be auctioned off at the ReImagine Art Festival.

Anyone interested in sponsorship is asked to contact committee co-chair Charlie Utz at 250-493-0007 or, or Dustin Merritt at 250-493-8540 or Sponsorship forms are also available online at the City of Penticton’s website at, on The Umbrella Project page under the blue Community tab.


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