INNISFIL, ON – For generations, wooden structures have dotted the icy landscape of Lake Simcoe during the winter months. This winter, some of these ice huts will become refreshingly vibrant. The Town of Innisfil and the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, in partnership with local ice fishing hut operator Gail’s Hotbox Ice Huts, are inviting local artists to create designs for these ice hut structures.
This one-of-a-kind, community inspired public art project will see ice fishing huts transformed by local artists into beautiful, engaging, and thought-provoking art displays. The displays will be located on and near frozen Lake Simcoe and will pop up during the winter of 2021/2022. The ice huts will be displayed to the public in various locations throughout Innisfil — in public parks, community spaces, and in operation at Gail’s Hot Box Ice Huts.
“We love when we have a chance to beautify the community and to support artists in a way that is unexpected,” said Mayor Lynn Dollin. “Ice fishing is a significant piece of the cultural heritage in Innisfil, and this public art project is an opportunity to highlight the value of Lake Simcoe. I’m excited to see the colourful displays that our talented local artists come up with – they are sure to help lift our community’s spirits during the long winter months.”
The purpose of the public art project is to connect citizens to their community and their shared history, raise awareness regarding diversity and inclusion while providing opportunities for local artists. Not only will this promote local tourism but will encourage a family-friendly Canadian pastime.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave the Library an additional incentive to plan an open-air, socially distant project. “We’re excited that this project will allow people to get outside and connect with each other and the community in a safe way,” Susan Baues, ideaLAB & Library Deputy CEO said. “What a great way to appreciate local art under the beautiful winter sky.”
The call for artists opens on Tuesday, October 19, 2021. Eligibility will focus on local artists from the municipality and wider Simcoe County area. Members of the BIPOC, 2SLGBTQQIA+, Indigenous, Senior, and Youth communities are encouraged to apply. We are hoping to include a diverse blend of participants and designs. For Innisfil, the Ice Hut call for artists is an opportunity to inspire local artists and residents, alike. A jury, comprised of citizens from a variety of community partners, will be announcing the successful artists in early November and completed designs will be on display in January.
An artist information session will be held, virtually, on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 7:00 pm. For details and to register https://innisfil.bibliocommons.com/events/616e0c056635903700802f82
By investing in the health and vibrancy of the community, this project will address issues of social isolation, belonging, mental health, and well-being in a post-pandemic environment as recognized by the Town of Innisfil Community Needs assessment. The ice huts will also support the Town’s Culture Master Plan. For more information and how to submit, visit Ice Hut Art.