Last art walk of the year a success

This yarn bomb was set up outside the arts centre to help promote fall programming. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Event to return to downtown in 2019

An initiative designed at bringing more people downtown in the warmer months is likely to continue next year after finding success in 2018.

The downtown art walk was started by Gail Carlson, an artist with a studio on Central Ave. It was designed as a night to check out artisans and shops downtown on a sort of self-guided tour.

From there, it morphed into something bigger, with the Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District (PADBID) taking on the challenge and growing the monthly event with live music and, most recently, horse-drawn wagon rides that double as historical tours through the downtown core.

“(Thursday’s) was absolutely fantastic,” said PADBID executive director Carolyn Carleton.

“We ended up going later than we anticipated because we had a lineup of people wanting to do the tour. Everybody ho got off the wagon ride was talking about how great it was to have the horse ride through the downtown.”

Thursday’s event, the last of the year, also had bouncy castles for the kids. Several people who booked a later time for the horse-drawn wagon ride took the time to explore the shops and galleries open downtown.

“It ended on a really good note,” Carleton said. “We’re already making plans for next year to start up in May. I think it will be something that will run every year, the first Thursday of each month from May to September.”

PADBID also used the last art walk to promote the Arts Centre’s fall programs, creating a yarn bomb between the railing of the centre’s outdoor ramp. The display will stay up until Culture Days have passed.

With the wagon rides, a lot of families came through, whereas before with the music, it was more single people and couples coming down. PADBID will take what was learned from this year’s events and apply it to the downtown art walk’s return next season.

“Event planning is something I like doing, so we’ll keep making things happen,” Carleton said.

“A lot of people need a reason to come downtown. With the success of street fair this past year, we wanted to keep the momentum going and give people a reason to come down and check out the downtown, stroll around and look at what all of the shops have.”

In the meantime, according to Carleton, there’s a lot more coming for the city’s downtown business district.

“Throughout the winter we’re going to get a lot more businesses opening up downtown,” she said.

“I already know of a few just starting to get going that plan to be up before Christmas. It’s definitely going to be great to see.”