Kamloops artist 'liberates isolation art' with power pole displays | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops artist 'liberates isolation art' with power pole displays

A Powerline Gallery piece in Kamloops. The phrase in French translates to "Everything will be alright."
Image Credit: Facebook/Powerline Project
May 17, 2021 - 8:00 AM

In seeking ways to get outside amidst a year of cancelled events, postponed sports leagues and closed businesses, some made art to keep their sanity while restricted to a life inside, and some simply stepped out their front door to walk their neighbourhood while travel has been restricted.

A Kamloops artist did both and set out to “liberate isolation art” in the process since beginning her decentralized Powerline Gallery in April 2020.

The Powerline Gallery is an art gallery featuring multiple artists whose work is collected and posted on power poles in back alleys in Kamloops’s residential downtown area, with some on the North Shore.

“It’s a fun surprise,” Kimberley Steadman, founder of the project, said. “It’s kind of like walking through a gallery. (Power poles) are consistent, they’re everywhere.”

With the closure or public restriction of art galleries since the COVID-19 pandemic, Steadman decided that with many people walking the neighbourhoods, she wanted to add “something positive” to those walks.

She chose power poles because they are not private property of homeowners or business owners, and they are a place where messages or events are commonly posted.

“Power lines connect our power and connect us all,” Steadman said. “Many people I know have been following public health orders and finding ways to stay sane by doing or making things, but this is a way to share them with others in a safe way.”

Steadman is an artist too, often working on sketches or with oil paintings. In the spring of last year, she started the posts with pieces created by herself and her mother.

Many early works she posted featured people wearing masks and positive messages with encouragement to stay home.

Since then, she’s started taking submissions from other local artists to feature in Kamloops back alleys.

On her project’s Facebook page, the locations of these pieces aren’t revealed. Her hope is that the Powerline Gallery can remain a “found art” project.

One of her favourite submitted pieces was left in her mailbox in the spring of last year by a friend’s daughter.

“It’s a picture of a woman smoking a cigarette with a phrase in French. It means, ‘Everything’s going to be OK.’ It was so lovely at the time to find this little piece of art in my mailbox for no reason,” Steadman said.

She has a background in the Kamloops art community. Steadman has been on the Kamloops Art Council, Arts Commission and taught art classes in the community.

Over the last year she has also hosted virtual paint nights while in person events have been restricted by public health orders.

She hopes to continue the project after the COVID-19 health orders are reduced. Until then, the Facebook page for Powerline Gallery can be found here, where some pieces are featured.

Her contact information for hopeful artists to send their work can also be found here.

Posted by Powerline Gallery on Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Posted by Powerline Gallery on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

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