Umbrellas open opportunity for arts

Penticton council on board with plan to find sponsors for patio umbrellas decorated by local artists

Charlie Utz

Charlie Utz

Penticton will be an even more colourful place this summer if a new plan from the arts and culture committee gets the amount of support they are hoping for.

They’re looking to find up to 30 sponsors willing to put up the money for a large patio umbrella, which will then be decorated by a local artist. The resulting works would be put to use around town for the summer before being auctioned off later in the year.

“The purpose of this project is to create some movement and some fundraising for the arts and culture committee at no cost to the city,” said Alison Markin, chair of the committee.

“As a committee, we decided we should come up with some sort of program where we can start raising some funds to be held in trust by the City of Penticton for future use for public art, other programs or something related to arts and culture.”

The concept is to find sponsors to purchase about 20 to 30 of the unfinished canvas umbrellas. Each of the $300 sponsorships would cover the costs of the umbrella, marketing and paints.

“Also, it gives the artists $100 so they would be paid for their time,” said Markin.

“That was something the committee felt was really important, to showcase the artists but also support artists in Penticton and not constantly be asking artists to contribute their time and creativity for free.”

The sponsor would work with the artist to create the umbrella, said Markin, and then would have the original work of art at their business throughout this year’s tourist season.

In mid-September, the umbrellas would be collected from the sponsoring businesses to be part of a display leading up to the Reimagine Art Festival, where they would eventually be auctioned.

The potential revenue from the auction is expected to be in the range of $6,000, if they manage to find 30 sponsors.

“It would be great if we could hit our goal of $10,000,” said Markin, adding that the money would be placed in trust with the city until the committee decides on a public art or funding initiative to direct it to.

Sponsors would also be given the chance to purchase their umbrella, rather than let it go up for auction.

“You sponsor the piece of art first, then at the end of the program if you decide you want to keep it, you have the opportunity to buy it back at a cheaper price,” said Markin.

“If you don’t want to keep it, then it goes up for auction.”

Penticton council has already jumped on board, followed closely by Coun. John Vassilaki.

“You just stole my thunder, I was going to be the one to take the first one,” said Vassilaki. “I would be more than happy to sponsor one myself.”