Beach residents get together to create mini Lockdown Lane artwork

Photo above shows Lockdown Lane in the backyard of resident Helen Darwin. Insert photo shows the “painting party” of Helen, Pat, Ayshe, Thom, Sandy and Moira who added their colourful work to the buildings. Painters not in the photo were Michele, Liz and Chris. Photos by Alan Shackleton.

Beach resident Helen Darwin and her neighbours got together in the summer to create a community artwork they call Lockdown Lane.

The row of small painted buildings displayed on a fence in her backyard depicts storefronts and houses along Queen Street East in the Beach.

Darwin created the wooden storefronts herself, and once they were ready she invited the neighbours over for a safe and socially distanced painting party in her backyard.

“I had some leftover wood and I was wondering what I might do with it, and I just started making the houses,” she told Beach Metro News. “Then I had some friends come over for painting party. Once they were all painted we added some tiny lights.”

Darwin said her husband Pat also spent hours on the project.

“Each building has its own personality,” she said. “The magic came from the painting party and what people added to the buildings.”

She and her neighbours are proud of what they created but do not consider themselves to be artists.

“We would call ourselves painters, not artists,” said Darwin.

The storefronts and their painted signs give a sense of the familiar for those who know Queen Street East in the Beach, and the work features a movie theatre and what has now become the obligatory “weed” shop one sees in any stretch of retail buildings.

“We want to encourage everyone to support the Fox,” said Darwin of its inclusion in the creation of the work.

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