Local business hosts walk-by art show

Photo via The CO Facebook

A creative art centre in Chatham is taking a different approach when it comes to hosting an event during the pandemic.

The CO. will be hosting Transformation: A Gallery Walk By on February 27. People are invited to view the photography of a local high school student through the gallery’s windows.

The CO. opened in September 2019 and focuses on creativity and art as a form of therapy. Owner Angel Bilagot planned to host in-person workshops and events however she had to quickly pivot her plans once the pandemic hit and think of creative new ways to operate.

“We really had to think about how we can keep doing creative things in a COVID-friendly way,” Bilagot explained. “We’ve done a few things where the experience is on the inside but the audience is on the outside. So she can still show her work and we can still be socially distanced and it still has the same kind of feel of a gallery.”

This will be Olivia Crackel’s first art show. Crackel chose to attend her quadmester co-op at The Co. after learning about the work that Bilagot was doing with using creativity as a way to help with mental health.

As an avid dancer for most of her life, Crackel’s photographs will showcase the transformation she has witnessed in dance over the course of the pandemic.

Crackel said she hopes people take away a message of resilience from the photos.

“I want them to take away that even though we are in these times, and it’s really hard for everyone, there’s still beauty in it,” she said. “There are still things we can take away from it besides all the negativity.”

The CO. is located at 208 Queen St. Photos will displayed from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the gallery’s window and guests can walk by to view them. COVID-19 regulations will be followed including mandatory masks and sanitization processes. Guests will also have a chance to interact with the artist outside of the space.

The event is free to attend, however, donations will be accepted.

“Any donations are pay what you can and will be going towards our Zonta Club of Chatham-Kent which is a local non-profit organization that works towards supporting and empowering women and girls,” said Bilagot. “I thought Olivia’s idea and her event perfectly fits with their mandate.”