Sunday, December 6, 2009


Today we sent the Phase 3 deliverables. Design drawings. Revised working budget. Working schedule.

With sunshine up and through the trees before dawn, with the heat, the garden, the animals, summer is everywhere.

Ice Gate – a far off winter idea - has been all about the glass enclosure that will keep the paintings pristine in temperate British Columbia weather.

How does it adhere to the site? To the plates? Widgets, gadets, size of glass, thickness, materials, how to, when to, who to engage to build it. He and Alan May met over tea, over breakfast at The Gumboot, at the dining room table, on the telephone at all hours. They had a plan. Then Alan gave him a budget.

Gord’s a resourceful guy – he can be in the middle of a tennis match – losing - -and he somehow steps out of it to determine what he’s doing wrong – changes strategies – and wins the game.

I can’t talk about anything here until it’s solved, but I have to tell you there were a few tense days while he tried to re-design the plan to bring the costs for the structure back down out of the stratosphere.

Our first planning meeting with the choreographers. They really impressed me with their trust of the creative process.

They’re all from somewhat different dance backgrounds – Maggie Guzzi represents the Dance Society; she’s creates modern dances always with a sense of comedy; Gerardo Avila does magnificent solo work, hilarious mime & storytelling. Jean Pierre Makosso, lively African dance. Brittany Robertson, a young, mesmerizing dancer, varied styles. And we all had to figure out how we were going to approach a truly local production – with amateurs, some having their first experience of dance. How would we structure it? What kind of music? The artistic vision of the dance? Do we call it an ‘audition’ if we don’t turn anyone down? They were passionate – and also excellent listeners, and by the end of the night we had a plan of action.

Then, emails from J.C. who is creating the new sized moulds for the longer, thinner paintings; a call from Art. Erik’s in town from Calgary (Skew Gallery just exhibited his work in a trio show called Merge 2); Ari Lazer, Prodn Manager phones asking questions, organizing the work schedule. And The Designer at Computer Central juggles his artsy projects (onecoolword) with updating and working on Henry Reed Organic farm.

A publisher in New York bid for Paintings Below Zero artwork on the cover of their Macroeconomics textbook and a photographer in Toronto is exhibiting photography of the Toronto installation at a pub there.

Meanwhile, two cougars have been spotted in The Creek, very very close: Joe and Orange Roads. Six sheep, five llamas and at least one deer have been killed in the past week – but not eaten. The conservation officers finally got the dogs out on the trail. That's the 17-year old orange marmalade guarding the premises.

A family from Paris traded houses with Alun for a month. How could we not invite them over? We met their trois enfants, had conversations en francais at the edge of the water at Peter Mason's cabin off Beach Avenue. And memorable pond frisbee in our garden.

Among other summer activities, we attended both The Sechelt Writer’s Festival and The Gibsons Tennis Tourney in the same weekend. We heard Naomi Klein, Anthony de Sa, Russell Wangersky (and others in the shade of the Rockwood gardens). Gord played mixed doubles with me - excellent rallies, went to a tie-break - but we didn’t win. Annette Schrober was my Women’s Doubles partner – although it's her first tourney and my second - we were contenders!

Call for Participation


We're inviting locals to perform on the world stage at the opening of Ice Gate at Richmond’s City Hall, and The Sechelt Torch Relay, February, 2010. Below, our audition schedule. Performance for Ice Gate.

Saturday, September 12th St. Mary’s Church in Gibsons 1 -3 and Sunday, September 20th, Seaside Center, Sechelt.

Summer’s over and it went out with a bang at the Higgeldy Piggledy Parade in Roberts Creek. The entire community came out in full regalia. Here’s Katherine Denham, a dancer/pilates instructor/mum. She was the first to help us get organized for Performance for Ice Gate. Thank you, Katherine!

That’s Duane Burnett, who has been helping us get the word out about Performance for Ice Gate on Facebook. Guess what, he’s going to be one of the dancers.

We’ve been meeting with the choreographers, listening to the music track, making changes, planning for our first meeting with the community, the CALL FOR PARTICIPATION. Here’s our group of choreographers:

Brittany Robertson, Shelley Harrison-Rae (coordinator), Gord Halloran, Jean Pierre Makosso, Gerardo Avila, Maggie Guzzi. Sign up here as a follower and we'll notify you every time we post.


Our life has been mostly emails and meetings, budgets, bills, drawings and graphs.

And then the date everyone could finally agree upon arrived and there we were in the Works yard, watching a fork lift download the plates from a huge container truck. The driver, who turned out to be a great guy, was cranky at first; he wouldn’t let me get his picture, so those are his legs on the small forklift there.

The whole thing reminded me of the impossible situation in Fenestrelle for the 2006 Winter Olympics, the day we tried to get the plates off the truck and up the tiny dirt path (with the cliff on one side) to the fortress church before dark. With the howling winds. And none of us speaking Italiano. And everybody wanting their cut.

This time, we met Alan May on the ferry and it was sure great to have him there at the site; he’s a builder and he’s lived through his own adventures, so he knows all about crews and lifting heavy objects and working with machines. On top of it, he’s big and tall and not afraid to get dirty, so between the lot of them, they got it all out of that huge vehicle. That’s him in the red shirt and Gord in the hoodie.

Then the mammoth truck backed up in the skinny driveway for fifteen minutes and when we could only see the dust his tires made on the dirt, we were left with the task of getting the stuff into the container.

Which took the rest of the afternoon. Here’s the crew in the aftermath, but prior to overtime: Derek Graebel, Joe McMillan, Greg Falkenham and Gord.

Gord couldn’t resist – he had to create his own improv piece of art.

Not totally off topic: Performance for Ice Gate: Last Friday we met with the choreographers, chez moi, but I was multi-tasking, and though the camera sat on the sill, it was never used. Come July 31st we meet again to work through some details, and I’ll be ready.

So far Sylvain Brochu, Maggie Guzzi, Gerardo Avila, Jean Pierre Makosso and Brittany Robertson will be our featured choreographers. Yvette Cormier from the Dance Society attended just to see how she could help.


Gord has been doing the necessary solving of the many unanswered questions, and it has been a glorious spring. Late and hot. Outdoors, baking heat-wave sun, lighting every little branch and leaf as the garden thickens with eager plants and expands its generosity with flowers. The crows scream their rude, throaty calls. Birds chirp symphonies across the branches and the cat went missing for a day only to be found in the basement.

Phone calls, emails, meetings. Trips to the city, to Horseshoe Bay. Gord met Adrian between plane flights, Art on his layover. J.C. on his day off. Lighting has been simplified. Scaffolding, has a decision been made? Lampposts must be removed from the walkway. The plates, moved to another location.

One day Tim and his dad Mick delivered the compressor and Gord set about to do more experiments with the surface of the plates. The posters were delivered, cards and labels ordered. We invited the Governor General to the opening. Ari had his break-in production meeting, Erik confirmed. We worked on grants for Performance for Ice Gate.

The budget is being wrestled down.

Every day is a search for the weak link. I never hear about it until it's been solved.

He's been going around the block on the r-value, the design, the fabrication of the glass for the enclosure.

Things are falling into place.

Yesterday, The Vancouver Sun finally published that article, and the SCRD gave The Ice Painting Project Society $1,000 towards Performance for Ice Gate.

Gord's ball hockey team won in their division (Males, Over 35) at The Official Canadian Street Hockey Tournament June 13th & 14th. Here they are: From left, Mark Safioles, Anthony Steeles, Graham Benjafield, Stephen Devlin, Gord Halloran George Watson, goalie.


With the site confirmed, we've been able to charge ahead. Gord's been into the city a few more times, meeting with JC about building the structure to house the paintings. Budgets and schedules. Materials, estimates. It goes on.

Tim's adventures in New Zealand end soon, he'll be home just in time to pick up the reins and tell us all about scuba diving with the jelly fish.

Erik Olson had a show in January & February called ASSEMBLAGES at Summit Fine Arts in Calgary, where his works are contemplation on "increasingly complicated architecture of a surging human population."

Jaz has taken on Art Directorship of one cool word, a very hip magazine in Vancouver produced by Tracy Steffanucci with a wide readership of very creative people in music, fiction, poetry, photography. Meanwhile, more experiments, I never know what to expect. Here's looking down on the back porch:

We have found someone who is working on the dance opening event Performance for Ice Gate Katrina Samuda has become the reason we're able to fundraise for this event. She's also very generous with flowers. Here are some from her garden on Gord's birthday.

Here's the info I've been promising:

The Ice Painting Project Society announces an exciting community project for Sunshine Coast residents interested in participating in an Olympic activity. The project, called Performance for Ice Gate will involve local choreographers and residents who wish to participate in the opening celebrations for the unveiling of Ice Gate at Richmond City Hall in February, 2010.

Halloran’s Ice Gate will officially open the Olympic celebrations in the city of Richmond on a date yet to be determined between February 7- 9th, 2010.

Performance for Ice Gate will feature the original work of several Sunshine Coast and Richmond choreographers and dancers, working with Halloran around the themes of ice and snow, of melting and freezing. Each piece of choreography will be seamlessly integrated into a whole dance, lasting up to 5 minutes, and involving up to 150 local residents. Local choreographers and movement artists who have signed up so far are: Sylvain Brochu, Gerardo Avila and Maggi Guzzi.

Gordon Halloran is volunteering his time as Artistic Director; Caitlin Hicks volunteers as Project Manager.

A call for dancers will be issued to the community later in the year, inviting people of all ages and backgrounds to try out. Auditions will be held, with choreographers choosing the dancers for their particular choreography.

For more information about the overall project, or to get involved as part of the creative team, contact Caitlin Hicks (604)886-3634, or email

For information about how to get involved as a sponsor or a volunteer, contact Project Coordinator, Katrina Samuda, by phone at (604)886-2729, or email

And now for hockey news:

As the Canuks play their way into the Stanley Cup Finals, Brett is the first male in his family to have made it to his 65th birthday alive (in a few generations, I hear). On the Day, Jake rented the rink for a scrimmage. We played hockey on either side of our squash matches in the first ever team squash tourney at the rec center. Afterwards we met Denise Leung - a very peppy gal who has been volunteering to volunteer since we last met her.

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We had a reprieve in the weather; now it feels like spring. The cat has ventured outdoors.

Kevin Griffin interviewed Gord for an upcoming article in the Vancouver Sun. And,the location for Ice Gate has been confirmed! Gord met with Alexander Renowitzky(on Gord's right in this photo),

an architect at Doug Jensen and Associates where they looked over a maquette of City Hall and sorted it all out. Here’s the site, barebones, looking bleak and wintry.

And, brightened enormously.

Here's another angle:

Now back to the engineers and landscape architects with this design. We’re working on the dance performance behind-the-scenes, more on that soon! Also Jaz is creating a poster. We want to invite the Governor General.

A blue heron visited a few times, looking for the fish to emerge from their muddy winter beds at the bottom of the pond. I open the door to scare him away, and he lifts his prehistoric wings and flaps them slowly, gracefully, through the air. The Gibsons Recreation Centre celebrated its first year of existence and extended use of the rink through April. Only 3 more weeks of hockey until the fall.


The sun has come out and at last there is something to report. Gord has moved out of the studio on Yew Road in Sechelt where he was conducting experiments on what he calls ‘sublimation’. He and Jaz spent a sunny afternoon at the site, cleaning up.

But more front-and-center: the location where Ice Gate is to be situated was changed again. The last time it happened, Gord set about to create a completely new design to fit the new location, City Hall. This new location would require that paintings be displayed on both sides, and that they be encased in a plexiglas case to protect against the sun.

First, we visited & photographed the new site. Then, Gord spent days sketching, making renderings in the computer, printing out top down views, side views, corner views. Designing for weight load, position and hours of sun on the painting, access to water, electricity. Soliciting quotes from suppliers. Consultations with Art. We met with the engineer, the landscape architect.

Then we began receiving emails from Richmond, with several other possible locations for Ice Gate, and it became evident that City Hall location was off.

It turns out, the city had been awarded Olympic Expo 2010 Richmond, a large museum exhibit about the Olympics and they decided to put it at City Hall. The concern was – if Ice Gate occupied the plaza, where would they put the line ups for tickets to this exhibit?

I just didn’t understand. It’s not like you can just pick up an ice painting and plunk it ‘over there’. He’d have to start from scratch and re-design the whole thing again, and there wasn’t time. Next month is April and to be on schedule we need to know whom we’re going to be hiring, how much they’re being paid, for exactly what tasks.

Our budget needs to be solidified; we need to know what materials to order, when and how much. The engineer must analyze and report on the viability of our design. Which means the design, (first approved in Dec ’08), has to be final. We had to get on the same page with Richmond and we had to do it now.

It was a soggy dark day; parking lots and exhaust fumes and mediocre ferry food. We met Connie Baxter, Supervisor for Richmond’s Museum & Heritage Services. We met David Jensen the design consultant for the exhibit. Kate Sparrow presided, and of course Ann was there. (She had changed the sign on her door to read,
If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

And the upshot was, Gord and the designer would re-visit the City Hall site and solve all those people & traffic worries with their creative minds. And that tickets to the opening of the 'OlympEX'exhibit are $25,000 each!

We walked the plaza again, and Gord found the perfect spot to put Ice Gate! He’s in the city again today to solidify the plans and get everyone onboard, and he’s promised to get some photos to share here.

The wonderful thing I learned about Ann at this meeting was: she’s not into control; she’s a facilitator. In addition to her lightning wit, she Has Faith.

Ari came to visit, just off his production of the wonderful, the sold-out, the colourful and inventive ‘The Listening Jar’.

Next blog: plans for Ice Gate opening celebration – a huge dance. Here's Katherine Denham, (Dance Director) and Connie Jordison of District of Sechelt, discussing the dance at the Torch Relay, which will involve local volunteers & choreographers.