Strengthening our relationship with the Great Lakes through participatory art.

Great Art for Great Lakes (GAGL) involves eight community participation projects that will focus on ideas that evoke a sense of celebration and highlight the grandeur of the Great Lakes and its connection to its people, their history, and diverse cultures. Through two public workshops or actions, each community will work towards the co-creation of a permanent artwork as part of celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.

Waterlution will work with a local artist and Great Lakes specialists to share Great Lakes stories and showcase them throughout the summer of 2017. Communities will create these collaborative art projects and Waterlution will work with local municipalities to donate these creations to an appropriate permanent space for legacy. All participants will be invited into The Great Art for Great Lakes project to deepen their understanding of the service these great waters have provided to our collective identity.

A digital web platform will be developed in the second year along with a guide on how to become a “great” Great Lakes community. This platform offers a Canada-wide opportunity to experience these creations.

Our project will play a role in Canadians taking pride in their Great Lakes.

Canada 150
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Photograph by V. Tony Hauser

The History

In June of 2015, a diverse group of 26 prominent Ontarians drawn from the arts, science, media, design, First Nations, business, environment, culture, youth, and sport communities was convened by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. The participants were asked to explore how celebrating the Great Lakes can help protect their service to the environment, people and the economy, while engendering a stronger sense of identity and pride in our citizens. The group concluded that a ‘bold and noble’ initiative is needed to champion the importance and value of the Great Lakes, to provide a window on all that is being done and can be done for them, and to make the Great Lakes iconic for the people of Ontario and across Canada. It was also concluded that story-telling and artistic expression, in lead up to Ontario’s 150th birthday would be a wonderful way to kick-off this longer-term initiative and expand the reach of how the Great Lakes touches so many across the province.

The Mission

Waterlution aims to place the Great Lakes high in people’s hearts and minds. We will tap into the creativity of Ontarians to engage with one another and express their stories and attachments to the Great Lakes through a myriad of artistic means and leave a lasting legacy.

“We believe when place matters to people, it is better respected and protected.”

As communities learn about the Great Lakes (through offered workshops), share their stories and co-create art installations, we wish to ask “what do communities want to see more of, surrounding Great Lakes?” Our project aims to energize communities through social engagement and collaborative artistic efforts that showcase our connection to the iconic Great Lakes.

Our project will play a role in Canadians taking pride in their Great Lakes.