Get Ready for Window Wanderland
By Robert Hawkes
At the inaugural James Bay Window Wanderland we were treated to imaginative displays. It was the first time the event had taken place anywhere in North America. Fortunately Window Wanderland is coming back to James Bay. This time the event will take place over three nights Feb. 22-24, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. each night.
Recently I sat down with Terry Loeppky both to look back at last year’s event and to learn about plans for this year’s Window Wanderland. James Bay Window Wanderland had 102 pre-registered and more than 125 actual displays the night of the event. Many hundreds roamed the streets to view the displays.
Terry said he was “thrilled by the creativity revealed” in the displays, which surpassed even the most optimistic hopes of the organizers.
Terry suggested that each person involved last year encourage one additional participant in 2019 and the event will double.
Here are a few hints to help plan your display. Scale is one of the most important aspects to consider. If you have an upper floor window separated from the sidewalk, think in terms of larger and bolder patterns. On the other hand with a street level window beside the sidewalk can feature small items.
A second critical factor to take into account is illumination. There are various options here, including lighting it from the back, perhaps using silhouette patterns, or from the front or side highlighting objects using a desk lamp. Some may even consider light projection or use a string of coloured lights.
You can find ideas for your display from many sources. Ask yourself what interests you have that you would like to share with the community. Look through the images of last year’s event to get additional ideas.
Consider how you can take advantage of your location. Perhaps shrubs or fences can be part of your display, or you have access to windows on multiple levels. Don’t overlook opportunities to collaborate with your neighbours.
Some of us don’t have well placed windows, so consider whether your display can be outside or even in your parked car. Make sure to obtain any required permissions from property managers or strata councils.
While the majority of displays will be visual only, don’t overlook opportunities to integrate with sound or to make your display interactive. A few displays offered refreshments last year, and the James Bay United Church had an interactive display that asked viewers to write on a note what love meant to them.
Plan to finish your display enough in advance that you can see how it looks from outside at night. Then make minor changes before the actual event. Often just a small adjustment in lighting can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your display.
Remember this is supposed to be a fun event for everyone. Don’t stress about making the perfect display. Do keep in mind that all displays are to be family friendly.
Individuals, groups, businesses and organizations can all participate. Both schools in our community had great displays last year and are already committed to participate again this year.
For those who want to improve their display skills, there are a series of optional workshops being offered by Dawn Olson. Dawn is an art therapist who is new to James Bay but already highly involved in our community. Dawn says she “loves the vibrant sense of community” she has found here.
The first workshop, offered twice on Saturday, Feb. 2, will involve participants in making a large puppet. The workshop is described this way “Create a giant monster, animal, human or other object to suspend in your window. Bring your imagination and, for your own reference, the dimensions of the windows you want to decorate.” This workshop is offered twice, in the morning at the James Bay Community School Centre from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and then in the afternoon at New Horizons from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The second workshop,Translucent Paper Scenes, is offered twice on Saturday, Feb. 9, is described this way “Create an eye-catching window decoration from colourful translucent paper – a pleasing pattern, a natural scene, a giant animal/human or….whatever you like!” This workshop is also offered with two time options, in the morning at the James Bay Community School Centre from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and then in the afternoon at New Horizons from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
There is a charge of $4 per person at each workshop offering to cover the costs of materials. Everyone is welcome, although children will need to have adult helpers with them. No art experience needed, and all materials will be provided at each workshop.
For those wanting to get display ideas, but not necessarily interested in a full workshop, there will also be a drop in Show and Tell Social at New Horizons from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday Jan.19. Terry described it this way: “This is a chance to meet some of the people behind last year's windows and get inspired for 2019. Did I mention there'll be cookies?”
Those who will be making displays are urged to register well in advance of the event. Each participant in a building is encouraged to register. James Bay Window Wanderland is also active on social media, @jbwindowwanderland on Instagram, @jbwindowwander1 on Twitter and on Facebook. You can register, browse photos, and get ideas and hints for your display on the new user friendly website: https://www.windowwanderland.com/event/james-bay-2019/.
James Bay Window Wanderland is jointly promoted by the James Bay Community Centre and James Bay New Horizons Centre. Funding for the event comes again this year from a City of Victoria celebration grant.