SUDBURY -- Storefronts in downtown Sudbury will be looking a little more creative and colourful than usual thanks to an annual summer event.

The Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl is back with a few tweaks this year to ensure social distancing and to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. The event, which has been known to have music, dance or reading performances in the past, is moving much of its formal operations online, including where Sudburians can bid on artwork.

The event is a grassroots cultural experience highlighting the art and local businesses of Greater Sudbury

Several businesses have signed on in the downtown core to display a piece of art in their window so passersby can view it in person, if they wish, without crowds.

A map has been put up on the website for those who wish to walk around downtown and see the art.

"Fifty something artists have submitted their works for display within the windows of downtown Sudbury, so you're looking at coming down, anytime of day, to look at what we can consider an outdoor gallery," said Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl organizer Monique Legault.

More important than ever

Legault, who owns a studio herself, is no stranger to displaying art. She said supporting artists in the community is more important now than ever.

"We haven't gotten as much support as some of the other sectors from the government for COVID, so really we as an organization, the art crawl (is) just trying to put it out there that there artists out there doing amazing work," she said.

Brian Nori is a part of the art crawl team and an artist himself.

With the sudden push to move a lot of things online, he's excited about what it might mean for a lot of the artisans in the community.

"Things are going more online, but in the same regards a lot of artists are coming out and they're being seen in a lot of different ways," Nori said. "So having to call it the way we did, there's new talent able to emerge. I know things will shift and we'll be able to get back to our old ways, but I hope this is a venue for artists that haven't been able to have an opportunity to be seen by the public."

"You can see it online, as well, but you can actually go through the city and see all the art that's out there," said Evelyn Eekels, another artist. "I think it's fantastic -- it's a really good compromise."

Eekels said she knows a lot of artists have been doing virtual shows, but it's not quite the same as being able to see it in person.

The Cedar Nest Decor Cafe has been helping the Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl for a few years now and jumped at the chance to display art in their windows.

Owner Suzette Peters, an artist herself, said the pandemic has made it difficult for everyone to survive and she was thrilled to be able to contribute.

"I like that … good things (can) come out of a pandemic," Peters said. "I like this flavour of art crawl. It is interesting (and) it's lasting for four weeks, so that's wonderful."

Proceeds generated from the sale of the art will go to benefit the artists taking part in the event.