The whole city is invited to a giant summer block party that started Wednesday in the northeast, featuring an outdoor work from local artists and family-friendly games.
Deerfoot City shopping centre is shutting down its main boulevard to make way for a 60-metre road mural — one of the highlights of YYC Block Party.
"I think it's like a bright splash of colour during this pandemic," said local artist Sydonne Warren, who painted five picnic tables in bold stripes and bright colours, and helped design the road mural.
"I think that people will have something to look forward to and have a place to hang out, and it still enforces social distancing rules but in a fun way, so it's not as dark or as bleak as it seemed before with the whole COVID-19 situation."
YYC Block Party will be on all summer.
Artist-decorated picnic tables, umbrellas and benches are part of what brings the outdoor boulevard to life. All seating areas have been measured for social distancing requirements, and the tables and chairs will be wiped down after each use, organizers say.
The outdoor installation is put on by PARK (Promoting Artists, Redefining Kulture) in collaboration with Destination Deerfoot City — the 1.1-million square foot outdoor shopping centre that features I-Fly and The Rec Room, at Deerfoot Trail and 64th Avenue N.E.
"Obviously, everybody has been very impacted by COVID-19," said Kara Chomistek, president of PARK. "And we wanted to provide an outdoor-safe opportunity, that we could collaborate with different artists and create a space for individuals to come and hang out, and to play and to spend the day."
It's provided a cheerful space but also an opportunity for artists like Warren.
"I'm just starting to put myself out there, and it's really helpful for getting my name out there and getting my work out there as well," said Warren. "I think it would be great if there were other opportunities for people like myself who want to be working artists in the city."
"I think it also contributes to local businesses, too, like the restaurants will get a lot of traffic."
YYC Block Party features the work of five artists: Leetia Lyons, Rachel Ziriada and Mikhail Miller of Nasarimba, Rhys Farrell and Sydonne Warren.
Organizers hope those who visit will not just take advantage of outdoor games and activities, but will stick around to enjoy the food vendors on scene, from Opa and Freshii to Smash Burger and Original Joe's.
The event wraps up Sept. 30.