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Igniting hope, artistry, and community at Innisfil Beach Park

The art installation of ice box huts will be on display at Innisfil Beach Park until March 2023

Five local artists were asked to 'think outside the box' for the 2022-2023 Ice Hut Art initiative, as it began with simple, plywood huts.

A partnership between the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, the Town of Innisfil, and local ice fishing hut operator, Gail’s Hotbox Ice Huts, makes the unique project possible, but what the artists paint, as they envision their masterpieces and bring them to fruition, is up to them.

“Projects like the Ice Hut Art, that bring together community, creativity, and connection are vital to community well-being,” Mayor Lynn Dollin said to the intimate gathering of community members at the unveiling of the Ice Hut Art on Monday night. “Lake Simcoe is a jewel within Simcoe County and we are always excited to find new ways to celebrate it,” said Dollin. “This whole project expands the idea of what art can be and shows how public art can surprise and delight you. I can’t wait for the community to get outside and explore the installation.”

Funded in part by The County of Simcoe 2022 Tourism, Culture, and Sport Enhancement Fund, it was important that the project reflected the unique perspectives and stories of all residents. Community partners from Ethnic Mosiac Alliance, PRNT Collective, and UPlift Black were consulted and formed part of the jury to ensure inclusivity.

The ice huts — Looking Forward by Angela Aujla; Nature and Community by Cheryl Daniells; Yalda by Neda Mazhab Jafari; Good Vibrations by Jeanette Luchese; and Simcoe Journeys by Maria Kelebeev — will be on display for the community to enjoy at Innisfil Beach Park (nearest parking lot E) until March 2023.

The 11 ice huts that were on display for the 2021-2022 season will be located on the ice at Gail’s Hot Box Ice Huts.

“As a community hub, the ideaLAB & Library is always responding to community needs in new ways,” said Erin Scuccimarri, ideaLAB & Library CEO. “We are often looking outside of our library walls to meet the community where they are – and sometimes that means showing up in unexpected places and delivering unique community experiences.”

Last year’s vibrant works of art will certainly stand out against the white backdrop of a snowy day in Simcoe County. 

As connection and community are major themes of the Ice Hut Art initiative, it was apt that the 3rd Annual Lighting of the Hope Tree coincided with the unveiling. Another joint collaboration of the Town of Innisfil and Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, the Hope Tree is a symbol of hope and resiliency that was established in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scarves, hats, and mittens were made available for those in need at Innisfil Beach Park, courtesy of Innisfil ideaLAB & Library’s Crafting for Humanity program.

As holiday cheer continues to swell, residents, community members, and welcomed guests are invited to take to the outdoors to experience the beauty of art and Simcoe County as one.

Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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