For about a month a year – from right after Remembrance Day until about the end of the first week of December –George Roach of Arbutus Realty turns some of his attention from split-level homes and duplexes to his stash of acrylic craft paint and big fat markers.
Roach’s sister makes window art in the Fraser Valley. She’s been doing it for about 20 years and after a visit over the holidays, and tagging along as she did a few, he returned to Quesnel – where he lived at the time – and decided to add some holiday spirit to the windows of the realty office he was working in at the time.
“Then the business next door said, ‘Can you do ours?’ and the business down the street said, ‘Can you do ours, too?’ and I’ve been pretty much doing it ever since,” he says. Now that he’s in Campbell River, he and his partner Erin Brown – who he calls the real artist of the operation – have been doing the windows of about 25 businesses per year.
This year they’re a lot busier than that, though. Roach says he’s booked for about 50, thanks in part to Jan Wade from the Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA) and the vendors on Shoppers Row and in Tyee Plaza.
Wade said she was looking for something interesting to add to the annual Starlight Shopping event held downtown, so she sent an email around to the DBIA members, outlining her idea of having the first 12 businesses to respond be one of the featured “12 Days of Christmas,” and get their windows decorated representing one of the days in the carol of the same name.
“I didn’t have any trouble filling the 12 spots,” Wade said, adding that after businesses who didn’t volunteer saw the work Roach and Brown were doing, more asked to be involved, as well.
George Roach decorates a storefront in Tyee Plaza with festive art work. Mike Davies/The Mirror
The businesses in Tyee Plaza will have scenes from “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”.
Roach said they always try to incorporate an aspect of what the business does into their artwork. For example, for an oil change business, they might do a car getting an oil change with Christmas presents falling out of the trunk, or a fast food restaurant might have kids being pulled in a sleigh made out of a french fry container.
Roach said they can come up with a design for just about any budget, from a single window with “Happy Holidays” and some snowflakes and holly accents to a full-scale mural across an entire storefront of windows.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Roach. “It adds some festive cheer to the community and gives us a chance to do something different for a while.”
If you’re interested in having Roach and Brown come look at your windows, call Roach at 250-203-5896.