Artists prepare pop-up gallery on frozen lake
By Sue Tiffin
Published Jan. 10, 2019
No matter what you might have seen in a fishing hut before, fish stories aside, you likely haven’t seen anything like this.
Three customized huts standing on the ice of Lake Kashagawigamog will house contemporary art installations by four local artists at an event called Ice Cube Gallery on Feb. 9 and 10, providing for a unique experience for event attendees in the form of a pop-up art gallery on a frozen lake.
“We’ve been playing with the idea for a couple of years, and finally decided, yeah, we’ll take a chance and do it, and then it just exploded really quickly,” said Collin Burke, creative director of the Ice Cube Gallery. He is co-organizing the event with Daniel Manley, Toronto-based designer Patrick Lightheart and local artists Gary Blundell and Victoria Ward. “The idea took off, people said yes and liked it, Haliburton tourism came on board ... now we just have to build the ice huts.”
Burke said the idea came to be while he was at a social gathering with friends Blundell and Ward.
“We were talking about looking at old ice huts and how cool they looked out on the lake,” said Burke. The idea to host art installations on the ice, alongside food and drinks and merriment, became a pop-up art gallery that can one day involve numerous artists – this year, it launches with three huts and four artists.
Acclaimed and award-winning artists participating in the first event are Rod Prouse, a well-known painter from Midland who teaches at the Haliburton School of Art + Design; conceptual sculptors Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg of Minden whose body of work is internationally recognized; and Victoria Ward, a local painter and writer from Highlands East who has had exhibitions across the country and in the United Kingdom.
At this year’s weekend event, hosted on the lake in front of Bonnie View Inn on Kashagawigamog Road, local food tastings will be provided by Rhubarb and Bonnie View Inn while a patio ice bar will be hosted by Bonnie View Inn and music will be provided by Daniel Manley of Russell Red Records, who plans on spinning vinyl for guests. The event focuses on the art, with the artists available for questions or discussions at their huts, but also entices guests to enjoy the location at an ice skating pond and bonfire.
“Each of the artists, and I know they all have different ideas of what they’re going to do inside, but there’s no limitations on what they can do on the interior,” said Burke. “It could be visual, it could be art, it could be installation pieces, it could be theatre, it could be anything, within the confines of a small little hut.”
Burke said there was great potential for the event to become an annual gathering.
“We started talking, and meeting with Amanda [Virtanen, county tourism director] and said, you know, this event could really take off over the next two or three years if we have success, because next year we hope to have maybe 15 huts and 15 different artists and local food involved and create a little village on the lake ... and turn it into an even bigger event that could grow.”
Burke said he lives on Lake Kashagawigamog himself and can imagine a village of huts lit up at night, with a fish fry and local beer and visitors partaking in all of it.
“Eventually, imagine 20 huts or 30 huts, it could be a real installation piece on the lake,” said Burke.
Bonnie View Inn is located at 2713 Kashagawigamog Lake Road. For more information about the Ice Cube Gallery, which takes place Feb. 9 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Feb. 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visit the Ice Cube Gallery Facebook page at facebook.com/icecubegallery/ or on Instagram at @icecubegalleryhaliburton. For information on overnight accommodation at the Bonnie View Inn, call 1-800-461-0347.