Providence Bay selected for ‘Great Art for Great Lakes’ project

Great Art for Great Lakes

MINDEMOYA—The community of Providence Bay is part of the focus of the Great Art for Great Lakes (GAGL) project being delivered by Waterlution.

At a Central Manitoulin council meeting earlier this month, Councillor Alex Baran informed council, “Nancy (Kinoshameg), our EDO (economic development officer), had come across a project through Waterlution originally, as Manitoulin Island had been selected as one of the site for an art installation under this program.”

“Our EDO had suggested that Providence Bay should apply to be one of the locations, and we twinned with the Village Square project in Providence Bay, as there are already six slabs in place for installation of art under this project,” said Mr. Baran.

Councillor Derek Stephens said, “what a great venue for the 150 Canada anniversary celebrations in Providence Bay-to have this in place.”

“We have a large artistic community in Central Manitoulin that supports art and they will definitely be in support of this,” added Councillor Pat MacDonald.

Council passed a motion “to approve the alignment of the Great Lakes Art for Great Lakes project with the Village Square project in Providence Bay.”

An article by Karen Kun, of Waterlution, on the International Joint Commission (IJC) website notes, “Great Art for Great Lakes (GAGL) is the first project under the ‘Greatness’ banner and is being delivered by Waterlution, a non-governmental organization based in Oakville, Ontario. Great Arts for Great Lakes will invoke the power of the arts in strengthening Ontarians understanding of an attachment to the Great Lakes, by celebrating the lakes through a variety of artistic means.”

“GAGL is a two-year project that involves a series of arts and learning workshops focused around eight Great Lakes communities,” wrote Ms. Kun. “Commissioned artists will co-create artworks with communities that  build up toward celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation (creating both Canada and Ontario) and produce a lasting digital showcase.”

Proposals are still being accepted for the first eight artists. The ninth art project has been commissioned to two Kingston-based artists, who will create a digital showcase called Community Flow that will combine Great Lakes scientific data and small art pieces produced at the local workshops, wrote Ms. Kun. The Great Art for Great Lakes project grew from a June 2015 session in which a diverse group of prominent Ontarians drawn from the arts, science, media, design, First Nations, business, environment, culture, youth and sport communities was convened by Lt. Gov . Elizabeth Dowdesdell of Ontario.

“During that session, Ms. Dowdesdell invited participants to explore how celebrating the Great Lakes can help protect their service to the environment, people and economy, while engendering a stronger sense of identity and pride in our citizens. The group concluded that  bold and noble initiative was needed to champion the importance and value of the Great Lakes, to provide a window on all that is being done and can be done for them, and to make the Great Lakes iconic for the people of Ontario, across Canada and around the globe.”

Project leader Christopher McLeod told the Recorder, “Manitoulin Island, and specifically Providence Bay was one of the first places chosen. They have a square village park that has six slabs-pads for outdoor sculptures. Through our project a sculpture will be installed on one of these.”

“Manitoulin was identified as one of eight communities for the project,” said Mr. McLeod. “Providence Bay is a beautiful location for this.” He explained, “we are looking at three phases for this project, one Great Lakes water event workshop where we will unveil the selected artist for the project, and have an event, probably on Canada Day. Secondly, an artist workshop looking at artists from the community with engagement-participation will take place. Then an artist-lead facilitator will be on hand during the Providence Bay Fair. The chosen artist will then have time to finish their project ready for the unveiling probably around Labour Day.”

“This project is open to any artist in Sudbury-Manitoulin Island district to apply,” continued Mr. McLeod.

The call for artists interested in creating the work of art in the Manitoulin-Sudbury area will be announced as of March 13.

Mr. McLeod explained, “Julio Crolic, our artist in residence, travelled last summer and she visited Manitoulin Island and spoke to the folks at 4Elements Living Arts in Kagawong who have their own project  going on, as to what would be possible. She said the Island is beautiful and suggested Providence Bay for this project, as it is beautiful in itself and they have the six pads in place with no art work on them currently. It was decided to reward the community for all its hard work and support them.”