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Ice Follies art festival returns to frozen Lake Nipissing this February


Ice Follies is returning to the frozen shores of Lake Nipissing for to weeks to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

The event is biennial contemporary art festival featuring a slate of national and regional artists presented on frozen Lake Nipissing; a distinctly northern way to experience art.

The 2023 theme ‘Thin Ice’ looks at our shifting landscapes and communities, including our changing relationships with our environment and each other.

The festival aims at transforming the coldest month of the year into the most creative month of the year. It’s co-presented by three local arts organizations: Aanmitaagzi, Near North Mobile Media Lab and White Water Gallery.

“It is super amazing to participate in a winter exhibition that is a cure to the February blues, celebrates art outside of conventional settings, and raises awareness of our relationship with our ecosystems,” said Isabelle Michaud, one of the participating artists.

In celebration of the festival’s tenth edition, Ice Follies will welcome new art presenters into the fold from Toronto, New Liskeard and North Bay; making it its biggest year yet.

There will be 13 art projects with 11 of them will be hauled onto the lake, while the other two will be placed in North Bay’s downtown core.

Ice Follies is free to attend and open 24/7 for the duration of the festival. Visitors will have the chance to attend both during the day and at night as they both give off different experiences.

“The installations, some of them do come to life at night. So there would definitely be an opportunity to visit during the day. But also in the evenings,” said Tanya Bedard, Tourism North Bay’s executive director.

Ice Follies 2023 is also partnering with Vox Choir, Creative Industries, Styly, Big Medicine Studio and other partners to offer workshops and community arts projects out on the lake.

To pay homage to Ice Follies’ cultural history, the festival will feature a curated, on-ice retrospective installation from the founder of Ice Follies, Dermot Wilson. The official Ice Follies documentation photographer, Liz Lott, will also create a self-guided historical Ice Follies photo-walk through downtown North Bay, showcasing many the artists from past biennials.

“They’re often artworks that contemplate or consider what it means to be producing or presenting cultural or artistic projects on the context which is Lake Nipissing shared by many different communities,” said Alexander Rondeau, executive co-director of Near North Mobile Media Lab.

For the first time ever, Ice Follies will be offering guided art tours of all the installations being presented that attendees can take part in for $10.

The festival will run from Feb. 10-24, for more information visit their Facebook page. Top Stories

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