Calgarians We Love: Kara Chomistek and Jessie Li (PARK)

Since the pandemic began, PARK co-founders Jessie Li and Kara Chomistek have been curating pops of positivity throughout the city.

Photograph courtesy of Kara Chomistek and Jessie Li.

Since the pandemic began, PARK co-founders Jessie Li and Kara Chomistek have been curating pops of positivity throughout the city. PARK prides itself in sustaining creative talent while meeting community needs (the name stands for “promoting artists, redefining kulture”).

Last May, PARK partnered with Pattison Outdoor to have local artists transform 80 blank billboards into uplifting messages. The #OURPARK2020 digital mural campaign boldly showed appreciation for frontline workers and encouraged distancing. In July, PARK brought more good vibes to public spaces: playfulness flowed over St. Patrick’s Island with the #StayBright and #VibranceYYC installations, while Deerfoot City was turned into a fun and safe outdoor patio space with the #YYCBlockParty street mural.

PARK is no stranger to immersive cultural experiences, having spearheaded the #ChromaYYC art pop-up at Southcentre Mall in the spring of 2019 as well as the PARKSHOW fashion events that bring together Canada’s emerging designers along with artistic, musical and culinary talents. But their work during the pandemic brought all of that together: creating work for artists, joy for participants and connection to community. “It’s really cool to draw people in to experience spaces in a totally different way,” says Li, PARK’s vice president. “It’s not just about creating artwork, but artwork with a purpose.”

Photograph by Janet Davies

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This article appears in the January 2021 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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