- Paddle Art Tour
- Water Wheel community project
- Dunnville Secondary School Woodworking class
Gina Wilson McIntee is a local artist based out of Dunnville, who is very passionate about the people, and natural environment within her community. When asked, Gina recalls art having been a part of her life for as long as she can remember, but was something she pursued professionally after having kids so she could work from home while they were growing up.
Gina has a deep connection to the Grand River and Lake Erie and feels very passionately about the importance of preserving local water courses. Gina explained, “Without water, there is no life, and so we have to take care of what we have”. She also noted she feels very privileged to have grown up and live in a community with such remarkable bodies of water. This connection and respect for her natural surroundings is also what prompted Gina to participate in the Great Arts for Great Lakes Program. This program’s objective is to, “commission artists, makers, and community engagers to create space for knowledge sharing and skill building that focuses on ideas around the Great Lakes” (Great Art For Great Lakes). These commissions often result in, “permanent artwork installed publicly within that community” (Great Art for Great Lakes).
After applying to the program in 2020 Gina was selected as one of six artists to create a project. For Gina’s project she engaged with over 350 local individuals who helped create a water wheel which is displayed at Dunnville Secondary School. This water wheel is comprised of 28 full sized wooden paddles, painted and decorated by local artists (of which a significant portion are students).
The project was so well received in the community, it led to the launch of a new local art initiative called the Haldimand Paddle Art Tour. On this tour, there are 16 paddles located around various landmarks in Haldimand County, that were painted by select local artists. Each paddle has a QR code which tourers can scan, to learn more about the artist, the paddle art, and the story behind the tour. The water wheel project also led to Gina creating paddle art for The Grand Program, which is an online platform where local artists can buy blank paddles so they can paint, decorate, and resell them. Proceeds from these purchases assist in supporting the woodworking program at Dunnville Secondary School.
Gina states that the paddles serve as a metaphor to her, which is that, “the more paddles you have, the easier the journey will be”, and it is thinking like this that makes Gina Wilson McIntee such a community leader.
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