It’s been a daunting couple of years for everyone, the local business and arts communities included, as we’ve navigated an array of pandemic-related challenges. But as more people are getting out and about, one local artist, a social enterprise and a number of businesses have joined forces for a fun new initiative that encourages people to support local, while keeping community building top of mind.
Dreamed up by visual artist Dominique Hurley and supported by Guide to the Good (a social enterprise and online directory that helps people track down local shops, restaurants and experiences), the Community Spirit Treasure Hunt kicked off on April 1 and runs to the end of the month. There are 11 local businesses taking part, each displaying several of Hurley’s artworks (these include TVAL, Johnny Ruth, The Outfitters, and The Natural Vibe on Water Street; The Seed Company by E.W. Gaze on Harbour Drive; Posie Row & Co, and Elaine’s Books & Café on Duckworth Street; Food For Thought on Gower Street; Rocket Bakery at Churchill Square; Newfoundland Chocolate Company on Torbay Road; and The Grounds Cafe at Murray’s Garden Centre in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s). People can visit each business and answer two Community Spirit Treasure Hunt questions per location (clues are located on or near the artworks, or will be uncovered by interacting with staff). Once they’ve entered all the correct answers on their form (click here to download), they have until 5pm on April 30 to submit it online, or at The Grounds Cafe, for the chance to win their favourite Dominque Hurley painting, valued up to $500.
In addition to fulfilling her own personal and professional needs, Hurley says, she hopes the treasure hunt will offer a way to help reconnect to the community and “inspire others to get out there again and to help support local businesses.”
“After a few years of happy hermiting in my studio and in nature, I needed a push to get back out in public. I saw so many others needed that too and the idea of the Treasure Hunt came to be. Already, in organizing it, I’ve been into shops I’d never been in before, had wonderful conversations with their owners and staff, and created a whole new collection of paintings for the winner to choose from,” she says.
While some of the businesses (all part of the Guide to the Good network) were familiar with her work, Hurley says, “others were new to it, but showed a lovely willingness to collaborate and help each other out for the good of our businesses, but also for greater community engagement.”
For Kim Todd, Founder of Guide to the Good, this sense of camaraderie is what the Community Spirit Treasure Hunt is all about. Each of the participating businesses, she adds, has something unique to offer.
“Everyone loves a good treasure hunt. And everyone gets rewarded for their efforts,” she says.
“One lucky draw winner will get to choose a Dominique Hurley original to take home, but all will reap the benefits that come from getting out in the community, meeting entrepreneurs, and experiencing feelings of connection and peace that come with viewing Dominique’s work.”