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Artists create family-friendly Winter Magic pop-up at Benson Park

Artists Nella Casson Krista Dalby and Tim Snyder created a fanciful collection of art for the ‘Winter Magic’ collection at Benson Park in Picton. The spheres above are made from wire and chicken wire and covered in recycled pool floaties, the group’s new favourite recycled material.

Local arts organization The Department of Illumination has populated Benson park with a ‘Winter Magic’ collection of family-friendly art installations and community words of gratitude.

Fanciful wooden cut-outs designed by artists Nella Casson and Tim Snyder, feature the park’s ubiquitous squirrel population undertaking winter activities, along with spheres made with wire and covered in recycled pool floaties, the group’s new favourite recycled material.

“We took the park itself as inspiration,” said artistic director Krista Dalby, “which is how we wound up with our squirrel theme!”

The installations feature QR codes that, using a smart phone or tablet, people can scan to listen to traditional Haudenosaunee stories told by Janice Brant and original songs created by musicians Annelise Noronha and Jennifer E. Brant. Artist Chrissy Poitras of Spark Box Studio also created some interactive Instagram filters for the project. The installation is also illuminated for those who might be passing by after dark.

Last month the community was invited to submit messages of gratitude which have been incorporated into an installation on the tennis court fence.

“In tough times, fostering gratitude can be a powerful, uplifting practice,” said Dalby, “and so we asked people to share with us what they were grateful for, in five words or less. The response was overwhelming and it’s a beautiful thing to put that gratitude out into the world.”

The Department of Illumination is known for its feel-good community-engaged activities – including the Firelight Lantern, Scarecrow and Ice Box festivals.

The Winter Magic project was supported by a grant from My Main Street in partnership with the Picton BIA. The group also plans to host some pop-up activities in the park on Family Day weekend later this month. The display continues until March 15.


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