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‘Like Christmas morning’ as Yellowknifers receive art supplies

A note of appreciation for the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, posted to Facebook, from a recipient of art supplies
A note of appreciation for the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife, posted to Facebook, from a recipient of art supplies.

NWT residents cooped up during the pandemic have been getting creative and crafty thanks to a little help from the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife.

Like Santa Claus and his elves, members of the coalition stole through the city leaving packages of canvases, paint, pipe cleaners, pom-poms, and other art supplies.

The deliveries reached more than 50 houses in Yellowknife.

“It was like Christmas morning,” said one recipient, Maureen Van Overliw.



Van Overliw said her two children “just tore into it all” to make Easter decorations and cards for family and friends. She hopes each family member will contribute to painting a canvas.

The supplies were a welcome gift after working from home with two children, facing uncertainty about daily life with Covid-19.

“Having an organization in Yellowknife that came to our door and dropped it off in a safe way made us feel cared for, and just gave us one less thing to have to think about or worry about,” said Van Overliw.

“We’re so appreciative and really grateful that they’re in our community for many reasons.” 



Chelsea Thacker, executive director of the coalition, said the idea came after seeing families expressing the need for activities to keep their kids busy. Schools across the territory are set to remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.

The craft kits involve supplies donated by GP2U – aka Grande Prairie to You, an Alberta-based company delivering goods to rural and remote communities.

Jessica Bruhn supplied this photo of her masterpiece.

“It was really, really cool to be able to connect with so many new people in the community,” Thacker said. 

That includes Jessica Bruhn, who painted a treescape in the style of Russian artist Leonid Afremov with her supplies. 

“It was very helpful, super-reassuring, that we have that connection and we have each other’s backs,” Bruhn said of receiving a delivery from the coalition.

She said painting was a “therapeutic” distraction when it was difficult to leave her home. (Mental health experts have recommended taking time for fun activities and hobbies to reduce stress and anxiety during Covid-19.)

Thacker said the Rainbow Coalition is still accepting donations to continue the project.