Business owner creates art display to lift community spirit

A business owner in Lincoln has created an interactive art display in her shop window to help lift her community’s mood.

Rachel Whitaker, who owns Rachel London Photography on Burton Road, is asking people to write on a post-it note what they are most looking forward to doing after lockdown.

Ms Whitaker is asking for people to donate some money to St Barnabas Hospice after leaving their message on her shop window.

She explained to Lincolnshire Live what inspired her to start the display.

“It has been incredibly hard for everyone during the pandemic and I have found the last 12 months really taxing on my mental health,” Ms Whitaker said.

“When we go to walk our dog it seemed like everyone was struggling and everyone seems to have found this lockdown that much harder.

“All the feedback I have been getting from customers and friends is that lockdown feels like it is still dragging.

“So while I was working the other week I looked out of my window and saw all the people walking past and thought it would be cool to make something really interactive that looks ahead and reminds everyone of all the stuff we are going to do when the pandemic lifts.

“I lived in London for six years and interactive art was really common over there. It seemed like every five minutes something new was popping up across the city and this is not something that ever happens in Lincoln so I was like right I am going to make it happen.”

Ms Whitaker says that the reaction from the community has been overwhelmingly positive and that she even received a thank you card from Burton Road residents who have enjoyed the display.

The post-it notes began with quite light-hearted messages but as time has gone on people have left notes which have touched her.

Some of the post-it notes at Rachel's Burton Road shop
Some of the post-it notes at Rachel’s Burton Road shop
(Image: Rachel Whitaker)

She explained: “The post-its are absolutely lovely and they started off quite light-hearted but there is some really moving ones on there.

“There is a guy who is 79 and a half and he says that he cannot wait until he can celebrate his 80th after the pandemic while there is another which says they are finally going to be able to get a divorce – just imagine how difficult it must have been for them to live in a house with someone who they are not getting on with during a pandemic.

“So there is some really quite deep, soul-searching post-its on the window.”

Ms Whitaker believes that there is around 60 post-it notes which have been placed on her shop front window now.

The project has also been created to raise money for St Barnabas Hospice and Ms Whitaker explained why she chose to raise funds for the charity.

“I support St Barnabas as a hospice and I have had a number of friends who have been looked after in their final days at St Barnabas in palliative care,” she said.

“At the end of last year my partner’s grandma was cared for by St Barnabas.

“They are an amazing charity, obviously local, but because of the pandemic they have forecasted a £1m loss which will have a knock on affect of what they can deliver to patients so I wanted to support them.”

To take part in the display you can go down to the shop at Burton Road, choose a post-it after you have used the hand sanitiser provided and stick your post-it on the window.

LincolnshireLive – Lincoln News