Artwork has brightened more than 100 windows in Forres in an attempt to shine a light through the darkness of winter and Covid.
Messages and images aimed at lifting the spirits of locals in the Moray town and surrounding villages have been put up in recent days to create a “Window Wanderland”.
Creative organisation Findhorn Bay Arts spearheaded the colourful arts project to run an event multiple households would be able to enjoy while obeying coronavirus rules.
Families, businesses, schools and community organisations took part to share their own uplifting messages with their neighbours on the theme of “Love is”.
Artwork trail in Forres windows may return next year
The first Window Wanderland was run in Bristol in 2015 by “nosy parker” mum Lucy Reeves, who wanted to brighten her neighbourhood during long winter nights.
The concept proved popular and has since been replicated 47 times across the UK and overseas.
Kresanna Aigner, director of Findhorn Bay Arts, revealed there had already been requests to make the colourful window trail in Forres an annual event.
She said: “It was truly heartwarming to see all the fantastic artworks made by people of all ages.
“The message of love, hope and community certainly lifted all our spirits. There was a gentle and safe buzz around our street while people explored neighbourhoods.
“We have been asked by so many people if we can make it an annual event and the answer is we hope that we can.”
Landmark buildings in Forres showed their own artwork in windows to try and banish the gloom of Covid, including the Town Hall, the Tolbooth and High Street shops.
Local groups including the Forres Area Community Trust, Forres Heritage Trust and Dava Way Association shared their take on the theme.
Meanwhile, residents in nearby Findhorn, Kinloss, Dyke and Rafford also displayed their own to bring smiles to neighbours.
More than 300 people are estimated to have contributed to the event, including more than 80 pupils from Applegrove, Pilmuir, Andersons and Dallas primary schools.
Creative escape from life in Covid lockdown
An online map was created to allow households to plot their own Window Wanderland route to take in the most attractions.
Teacher Morag Robertson, who took part in the event, said: “It’s been a welcome creative escape for me creative escape for me in an otherwise stressful mixture of online face-to-face teaching both at work and at home with my four girls.
“That sense of community brought together through the arts is giving us all a hope for the future.”
Artwork helps to bring people together
Only some of the artwork displayed in the Forres windows explicitly made reference to Covid while most focussed on lifting spirits and seeking friendship.
Some of the displays stretched to multiple windows with images coming together to create a larger message.
Gloria Greganti, who works at charity Ark People Housing Care, which helps to support people continue to live at home, said: “With day centres and other specialist provisions still closed due to coronavirus restrictions, some of the people we support are reporting feelings of isolation.
“Our staff has been amazing at finding creative ways to keep people entertained, involved and happy while keeping them safe.
“The Window Wanderland initiative was a great activity for people to focus on while at home. It definitely lifted the mood to all who took part.”
Participant Haley Savage said: “It has been a balm for my mental health, which has been mainly focused on home schooling and lockdown fatigue.
“It has also been a pleasure to share a little piece of what makes me happy, with my local community and I hope it makes people smile too.”
Constable Michelle MacDonald, from the Forres community policing team, said: “Everyone showed great community spirit, which has brightened up the town of Forres during such challenging times.”