With summer well underway, the atmosphere on the island is buoyant as the majority of the heavy lifting is done.
The staff are falling nicely into their roll as they welcome newcomers for tours of the light and some added historical tidbits.
The Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior, “Artist in Residence”, Gayle Buzzi has also taken to her new reality. When she arrived she said, “It reminds me of my summer camp some years ago, on Oliver Lake”.
During her first week, Buzzi met many other visitors and showcased several works of art depicting images of lake and land.
Buzzi’s art is mixed media acrylic-on-canvas, which offers another texture and take on the surroundings.
As you go into the artists’ studio, temporarily set up in one of the dwellings, your image of lighthouse living changes and you see the island through the artists’ lens.
Gayle’s art draws in the viewer with a textured presentation using natural found objects to complement her work.
Visitor’s feedback about the program included a comment from a kayaker who said “This is awesome, but crazy”. I’m sure others might say that kayaking on Superior is crazy too.
Art helps people view the roll of a lighthouse on the landscape and the duty to protect boaters lives from danger. Gayle said, “It took me a couple of days to acclimatize and after some frustration and a walk to the black sands beach I was able to hit my stride.”
Later on Porphyry Island we will be hosting three more creative people who will try to sample the experience and feedback in their works as to what the island is really like. A photographer, cinematographer, and writer will all try their hand of expressing the lighthouse experience.
Further to the Artist in Residence program, work is being undertaken to prepare the on-site photo gallery of works by former lighthouse keeper Gordon Graham. The gallery will host 15 images taken thirty-five years ago of the lighthouse station in summer, winter, and fall conditions.
Also begin completed is a mini-museum of lighthouse artifacts that are arriving from around the region. A potbelly stove and ladder from the first lighthouse build in 1873 are currently being featured.
It’s exciting to activate your imagination when you think of what conversations were previously held around the fire or who’s climbed the ladder?
Finally, some Red Chairs (which are placed in National Parks across Canada) were delivered, assembled and put in place to showcase the water, rocks and the Sleeping Giant. With our on-site WiFi for the youngsters to tweet, Instagram and Facebook, it allows them to share their experience with friends, family, and the world.
It looks like some nice weather is approaching us for the next couple of days and with it we are all looking forward to sharing more Porphyry Island lighthouse moments.