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'Glad it's back': Popular winter art festival returns to Lake Nipissing


A popular winter art festival has returned to the frozen shores of Lake Nipissing.

Ice Follies is a biennial festival of contemporary art on the lake, which attracts both locals and visitors to the area, has returned.

The event is celebrating its tenth anniversary and official say it is bigger than ever.

"My family, we've been coming here every other year when it's on. We've been missing it and glad it's back," said self-described Ice Follies fan Jason Guindon.

Dianne De Jong from Perth County is visiting the art for the first time.

"We have been snowmobiling with friends in the area and they said before we go home they wanted to go check it out with us," she said.

The art displays have been ‘dragged’ on to the lake for a couple of weeks to allow the public to enjoy them. The displays feature 11 artists from North Bay, Toronto, Sioux Lookout and Vancouver.

"It's rooted in bringing the community together and so much of Ice Follies is in many ways a call to action of the communities that share the stewardship of the lake," said Near North Mobile Media Lab’s executive co-director, Alexander Rondeau.

Imogen Clendenning, an artist in this year’s festival, has transformed an old ice shack into a mini archive of past Ice Follies events, called 'Archive On Ice.'

Imogen Clendenning (left) and Alexander Rondeau (right) discuss the history of the the Ice Follies festival near Clendenning contribution. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)"I made the web design and created the website on a little raspberry microchip computer and it's powered by the sun," Clendenning said.

"It's about thinking of new ways to create new relationships with technology."

She has a deep connection to the festival, her father, Dermot Wilson, was one of the founders of the inaugural Ice Follies all the way back in 2004. Wilson was the curator and gallery director for W.K.P. Kennedy Gallery, which coordinated the first Ice Follies.

Clendenningtold CTV News that being part of the festival this year will always hold a special place in her heart.

"I remember being a little one and crawling around and exploring the different art installations,” Clendenning said with a smile.

“(You might say) I've been involved for a long time."

The festival started Friday night with the artwork being lit up.

One of the Ice Follies art installations on Nipissing Lake during Friday night's opening ceremony. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)The exhibits are free to view and open 24-hours-day.

Rondeau said he encourages art aficionados to visit the artwork at night as well as during the day to get a different experience.

"Often times some festivals will look better in the day time as things pop in the white horizon of the lake but some festivals like this particular one really come to life at night," he said.

The theme for this year’s exhibits is ‘On Thin Ice.” Organizers said they are encouraging visitors to think of the theme and how we can continue to care for the area we call home while viewing the art.

A family visiting one of the many art displays at Shabogesic Beach in North Bay as part of the 10th Ice Follies festival. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)"It's pretty impressive and it never disappoints and you always learn something very interesting," said Guindon.

For the first time ever, Ice Follies will be offering guided art tours of the art installations that attendees can take part in for $10. Tours will be offered Feb. 15, Feb.18-20 and Feb. 22, to register for a tour visit Ice Follies website.

The festival will run until Feb. 24, for more information visit their Facebook page. Top Stories

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