During the holiday season, the windows of businesses across Mission are adorned with festive paintings.
What shoppers may not know, is this colourful artwork is mostly done by one local woman, and she’s been at it for 30 years.
Annette Roach, the owner of Art Will Travel, started the business after she decided to paint the outside of the vacuum-repair store where she was working around Christmas. The neighbours immediately took notice.
“Everybody on the street was coming in and asking if I would do their windows,” Roach said, adding everything “just snowballed” from there.
Roach, her two daughters, and son arrived at the Mission Christmas Bureau donation centre at The Junction Shopping Centre at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6. They have volunteered their time to paint the windows for free.
“We’re happy to come do something for our community,” she said.
She donates one or two large window paintings every Christmas season, depending on how much time she has – usually it’s not much. Roach describes the holiday workload as “insane.”
Each window takes two to three hours to paint, and she does around 100 before Christmas each season (which starts immediately after Remembrance Day).
Many shops along 1st Avenue have already hired her to start next week, Roach said.
“My phone just doesn’t stop ringing,” she said. “Luckily I trained all my kids how to do this when they were really little.”
She’s always been a big Christmas person, and said she initially started the business because she wanted to buy more gifts for her kids.
Now locals come up to her on the street to compliment her work.
Outside of the holiday grind, she paints fence murals, home interiors, including a lot of children’s bedrooms. She also has some bigger clients that hire her for promotional artwork.
The fence murals along Cedar Street mark the perimeter of her home, something she says is great advertising.
“I keep busy year round,” she said.