Jody Donovan painting a lovely sunset with an island. He later found that the island has an image that spectators have noticed looks like a bear. “I didn’t intend on it being a bear but others saw it," he said. "And on the other side, they see a sea lion, all unintentional.” (SONJA DRINKWATER / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Banners will hang in Port Alberni’s Rotary Arts District despite COVID-19 delay

Only half the banners were painted before nationwide closures due to the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic interrupted the Rotary Club of Port Alberni Arrowsmith’s annual banner painting efforts, but they won’t go to waste.

Rotary spokesperson Larry McGifford is making arrangements to collect those banners that were painted before the pandemic closed schools and businesses in Port Alberni and the rest of the country. He hopes to have them up before June, if all goes well.

READ: 2020 is another banner year for Port Alberni

COVID-19 restrictions affected the second part of the annual banner painting program, he added. After hosting a weekend of families, groups and individuals painting 50 of their own banners in February, the program was poised to have school classes and other organizations create the second half of the banners in the school. The banners are usually put up in the Rotary Arts District on Argyle Street between Eighth Avenue, where the Rollin Art Centre is located, and Harbour Quay.

McGifford is in the process of collecting material and completed banners—he says there will be about 60 of them, which will have to be sent away to have the end pockets sewn before they can be hung on the light standards in the arts district.

“We thought it wouldn’t be right if there was a lot of work put into the banners and then not put them up.”

Bailey Electric has tentatively set aside time to install the banners McGifford has collected before the end of May. “We’re going to get them up as soon as we can,” McGifford said.

McGifford said they will look at having community or school groups complete the rest of the banners in the fall, provided the COVID-19 threat is over, to prepare for next year.

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