Art installation Sweet Street offers life-sized 'candy' board game for Calgary-area kids

·2 min read

Calgary kids have the chance to step inside a magical land of candy, roll the dice and play on a life-sized board game at Sweet Street, a new interactive art installation at New Horizon Mall.

The project brings together the work of several different Calgary artists and displays it within the installation, which covers 1,200 square feet in the mall just east of Calgary near Balzac.

It's the latest from the people at PARK — which stands for "Promoting Artists, Redefining Kulture" — which aims to bring the work of local artists to public display places.

This one just happens to also be designed to instill wonder and lift spirits.

"So far, the response from kids has been extremely positive," said Jessie Landry, the founder and vice-president of PARK.

"As soon as we see a kid jump onto the candy board, you can just see their eyes light up. Oftentimes they make up their own games, which is really fun to see that creativity, and to see kids engaging — and to see people of all ages engaging with the spaces we create."

Justin Pennell/CBC
Justin Pennell/CBC

There is a four foot tall gummy bear, a massive chocolate bar and a candy-themed balloon arch, as well as giant dice that the players can toss when it's their turn to play the physically distanced game.

Kids can roll the dice, move along the board and encounter adventures such as life-size macaroons as they try to make their way to the winner's prize — a visit with Santa.

Landry said kids and parents alike need this magical moment right now.

Justin Pennell/CBC
Justin Pennell/CBC

"It is important to keep kids engaged in a time like this, because it has been a very difficult and trying year," she said.

"We really hope that experiences like this give them a creative outlet, and give them a sense of joy and vibrancy, when many of them have spent most of the year in lockdown or quarantine."

Landry said Sweet Street is the perfect light-hearted family outing and photo op.

The board was designed by Calgary artist Tyler Lemermeyer.

A giant candy themed photo wall is the work of artist Rachel Meckling. A mural featuring a candy castle is from Wari Willie-Pepple and the balloon and candy arch was built by Ekaterina Shagaeva.

Sweet Street will be running until March 2021.