BROOKINGS, S.D. - So many businesses are adjusting their practices and getting creative during this pandemic. An artist in Brookings is taking it upon herself to give them a little boost as they try to navigate a temporary new normal.
"Hopefully this can be a way for people to have a bright spot in their days," Ashley Biggar said.
Biggar is the director of Downtown Brookings with the Chamber of Commerce. She paints as a hobby, and is painting murals on windows of businesses. It's something she's doing on her own, free of charge for businesses in the city.
"Typically what I do is I get a concept in my head, I kind of do some research about the business and try to incorporate that in with the World of Hearts movement, along with some sort of fun uplifting thing," she said.
The World of Hearts movement is across the globe, encouraging people to spread positivity through a project using hearts.
"It has just been so heartwarming to just be able to see that look in their eye when I've completed a project for them," Biggar said. "They really, really appreciate what I've done. It's a really great way to connect with them, their consumers, the whole community."
Businesses are looking for more ways to connect with the community during the pandemic.
"Your normal foot traffic has really slowed down. People just aren't out and about. So that makes a huge difference," Samantha Tupper said.
She is currently the store manager of Wink's Fine Jewelry in Brookings but is working to buy the store from her grandpa. It's been in the same location in Downtown Brookings since 1963.
"It's my life. This is everything. You know, it's not even just my livelihood, but it's our- it's my family. It's his legacy carrying on and just going into the next generation too," Tupper said.
As so many businesses fight to survive the pandemic, Biggar is trying to bring some optimism to a time of uncertainty.
"Like I can tell you everything is going to be okay, but if I can put that into a piece that will touch your heart differently than it would with words, so it's just really cool to connect with people like that," Biggar said.
She pays for all of the supplies herself to do the window murals.
Biggar has created murals at about 10 businesses so far with more reaching out to her.
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