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Penticton artist paints 100 shoes for mental health

Penticton Western News - 11/9/2023

When it comes to a Penticton artist and her 100 paintings of shoes, things have really come full circle.

It's been two years in the making for Peggie Collins, who has been working on the 100 Shoes for Mental Health Project as a way to give back to the community she loves.

The journey, however, is far from over.

Collins' work, which includes everything from logging-style boots to basketball sneakers, will be displayed during the popular Penticton Art Walk on Nov. 18. But if you want a peek at her work, it's on display at Below the Ankle footwear in downtown Penticton.

But why shoes?

"In effect, it is a reminder to practice empathy, today and every day," Collins writes. "People struggle with segregation, loneliness and fear…they need help finding a way to stay mentally well."

Those words will spark what she hopes is a successful fundraising campaign this month.

Fifteen per cent of proceeds from sales of her shoe paintings will go directly to the Canadian Mental Health Association of B.C.

Collins has sold 34 paintings, since starting the project in 2021. She says that equates to around $700 donated back to local mental health initiatives.

"I feel strongly that mental health is really important and I was just grateful I had my paintings because it helped my mental health," said Collins.

"It's been my way of coping."

The aforementioned art walk, led by the Penticton Arts Council, Downtown Penticton Association and the Penticton Art Gallery, features 22 businesses and will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Some of Collins' paintings are on display now at Below the Ankle, which will serve as spot No. 12 at the Art Walk.

The longtime Okanagan artist says she will also be participating in the walk and displaying some of the magnets she created in support of the cause.

Paintings are 4" by 4", acrylic on paper, with a mat and framed in a shadow box ready to hang wherever you'd like.

"Everybody has been really supportive that I'm doing this…I'm just grateful," Collins said.

Every painting has a story but according to Collins, so does every shoe.

"I wanted to make the paintings tie in with a story, like how a shoe fits with something."

Collins' painting can be viewed and purchased here.