AT HOME IN BRONTE: SUMMER EDITION
At Home in Bronte: Summer Edition is back!
In 2017, Canada turned 150 years old and Bronte celebrated the occasion by showcasing over 60 community hand painted Muskoka chairs throughout the district. Now in its sixth year, the At Home in Bronte Muskoka chairs have become an iconic art installation that helps to kick-off the summer season.
Visitors are invited to explore our beautiful waterfront and surrounding businesses to check out each uniquely designed chair by local artists, including Sheridan College students. There are 100 chairs to explore! Each art chair has a hidden lighthouse icon waiting to be discovered. Take a photo of yourself in the chairs and share @BronteEvents on Facebook and @BronteBIA on Instagram.
This program is organized and paid for by the Bronte BIA and its 175+ businesses. It is part of our effort to encourage local residents and visitors to get outdoors, get active and enjoy the colour, vibrancy and charm of Bronte.
Bronte is accessible by bike, car, local public transit and GO train. Read more about how to get here and parking before you head out. Once here, the pathways in the park and district sidewalks are wheelchair, stroller and feet-friendly. We’re proud to partner with the Town of Oakville which maintains paved pathways and gardens in the park. The washroom at Fisherman’s Wharf is open and cleaned year-round.
Congratulations to the Bronte BIA and its partners on receiving funding from the first round of the My Main Street Activator program. The My Main Street Activator program, led by the Canadian Urban Institute, provides support across southern Ontario for local community placemaking projects, including activities, enhancements and policy and capacity building designed to draw visitors and increase local vibrancy. My Main Street is made possible by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Read more.
Meet the Artists
Since 2017, the At Home in Bronte project has invited local residents, businesses and community groups to come together to design and create hand painted Muskoka chairs for display in Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park.
Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions in 2020/22, we had to change up our program and instead hired local artists to design 100 chairs in the space of their own garages, apartments and studios. In partnership with ArtHouse Halton, we connected with students from Sheridan College to add to the installation in 2022. Read the profiles of these talented artists below.
Richmond Hill native Sydney Stobo is studying in the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College. Through her design, Sydney was able to combine her love of nature and her favourite colours, while paying tribute to Oakville’s history as the Strawberry Capital of Canada. The whimsical style and soft palette remind Sydney of the sights, sounds, and fragrances of the first strawberry picking of the summer.
Nancy Xu is in her first year of the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College. Nancy enjoys mixing digital media with analogue photography to explore themes of uncomfortable nostalgia. Despite her chair design, Nancy has never actually gone fishing.
Lindsey Ainsworth is in her first year of the Honours Bachelor of Craft & Design – Furniture program at Sheridan College. Lindsey is a life-long maker who enjoys all sorts of craft, but especially loves working with wood and textiles, using reclaimed materials wherever she can. For her chair design, Lindsey explored Bronte’s marine heritage through the lens of a colouring book, where playful fish dodge in and out of the waves.
Sydni Weatherson is in her fourth year of the Honours Bachelor of Crafts and Design – Glass program at Sheridan College. Her time in the studio is spent focusing on blown glass as well as engraving. Her current work looks to capture the fluidity of the glass during the making process, exploring colour, texture, and movement frozen in time. For her chair design, she drew inspiration from her life growing up in Bronte. The chair is adorned with the common winter birds for the area, and other common sights. The icy blue backdrop is reminiscent of the cloudless winter sky, contrasting with the bright red berries, and the dark, glittering lake.
Taylor Blais is in her second year of the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College. Her areas of focus are wardrobe, props, and paint. The knowledge she gained from the program’s scenic painting course was utilized in her Victorian wallpaper inspired chair design.
Lara Campbell is a first year Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program student at Sheridan College. She was thrilled to have this opportunity to experiment with colour, lines and shapes, and ultimately settled on a vivid and powerful design for her chair. Inspired heavily by Roy Lichtenstein, her goal was to pay homage to the iconic pop art style while adding her own flair. She learned a lot during the painting process and is grateful to have had the opportunity to create something she is proud of.
Lily Chang is enrolled in the Bachelor of Craft and Design – Industrial Design program at Sheridan College. The inspiration for their chair design was inspired by a camping trip. The sky was clear, and you could see all the stars at night even with the light from the roaring fire.
Julia Roden is a woodworker and glass artist from Mississauga, Ontario, currently in her third year of the Honours Bachelor of Crafts and Design – Furniture program at Sheridan College. She designs and fabricates a wide variety of household furniture pieces and smaller finer wooden pieces. In addition, she blows glass and has experience in flameworking.
As a child, Julia often visited Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park with her family, as did her mother and uncle during their childhood. Julia has used the memories she created to influence the designs painted on her chairs. She used bright colors and fun shapes to put a smile on people’s faces when they visit Bronte. She painted her chair with memories in mind and hopes that people who see her chair will take a moment and appreciate the small joys in life.
Isie Yang (she/her) is currently enrolled in the first year of the Honours Bachelor of Illustration program at Sheridan College. She creates visual art using a range of different mediums, which often intersect with each other. Currently, she enjoys using graphite, coloured pencil, and water colours in her work. Her chair design explores the theme of camping and nature, using bright and contrasting colours to catch the viewers’ attention. Isie’s work is often recognized by its vibrant colours and organic shapes, which she decided to incorporate in her chair to make it stand out.
Hyunmin Kim is currently enrolled in the Honours Bachelor of Illustration program at Sheridan College. Hyunmin painted an illustration with a graphic design feeling on the chair using only two colours by adjusting their value. The design is inspired by Canada’s seasonal and topographical features and will blend in particularly well during winter.
Eve Diemand is a second year Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program student at Sheridan College and a props maker from Stratford, Ontario. They enjoy creating works of art of all kinds, but always enjoy the mystical and fantasy aspect of life. Their goal is to make creations for any and all to enjoy.
Decklan Page is a visual artist in his second year in the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College. Decklan works in a wide variety of artistic mediums; anything from sculpture, paint, digital art, and more. Decklan designed his chair based on his love for tropical plants, rainforests, and tacky Hawaiian print shirts, of which he has a large collection. The colour palette chosen for his chair painting was designed to be as vibrant and lively as a tropical jungle, while using flashy colours reminiscent of his favourite shirts.
Colin Welsh is a costume and prop technician from Muskoka, currently studying in the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College. He has a passion for working with intricate projects and creating mechanisms that add that little bit of magic to the theatre arts. Colin also loves to use aging and faux finish paint techniques to add illusion and depth to his creations. This can be seen in his chair which depicts a sunken treasure chest.
Steven Botelho is a Milton based Illustrator who painted a total of 4 chairs for the At Home exhibit. Steven writes and illustrates children’s books and his latest book is based off his children’s puppet show that centers around mental health.
In his chairs series, “the 4 elements”, Steven wanted to share his love of nature and connection to what is important to him. Wind, earth, fire, and water, all elements that are essential for survival, but also our connection to the divine.
Steven is a Sheridan college graduate and from there has built a career teaching all forms of art: puppetry, directing, illustrating, needle felting and so much more. You can see some of his work on @feltingspace and @ourspacesafespace.
Sisters, Evalani and Kaia Ohata, wanted to bring awareness about the shortage of bees in the world through the design of their chair. It showcases flowers, which help to sustain life for butterflies and bees and aims to highlight the importance these creatures play in our environment. Evalani attends high school in Burlington and loves music and visual arts. Every evening, she spends hours in her art studio painting. Kaia attends elementary school in Burlington and loves drawing and sketching portraits and spending time in nature.
Hannah Kaatz enjoys creating geometric and botanical patterns and often plays with various forms and textures in her designs. In her At Home chair, Hannah painted a cheerful and vibrant landscape home to a flock of geese, which reflects her love of bright colours and nature. An artist from Burlington, Ontario, she is currently studying in the Honours Bachelor of Craft and Design – Textiles program at Sheridan College.
Griffin Hebert painted their chair in a design based on the pattern of a koi pond. Their art usually comes in a colour-block style, which they implemented into their design. They hope it invokes feelings of calm and tranquility with its pastel colours and simple design. Griffin is a graphic artist from Nova Scotia who is studying in the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College.
Ireland Boylan is an artisan from the Ottawa Valley studying Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry at Sheridan College. She enjoys various forms of art such as photography, music, and crafts. She takes her inspiration from the great Canadian wildlife and landscape near where she grew up and likes to use vibrant, deep colours in her art, which are showcased in her chair design.
Evan Reid is in his first year of the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry Program at Sheridan College. He hopes his chair encourages people to find joy in small moments.
Claudia Smith is in her second year of the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College and previously studied architecture at the University of Toronto. Her chair design is inspired by her life-long fascination with astronomy and represents the natural harmony between day and night, sun and moon, and light and dark that make up our daily lives.
Robin Ritter is a mixed-media artist, specializing in hot glass sculpture and illustration. She is currently studying in the Honours Bachelor of Craft and Design – Glass program at Sheridan College. Being raised in Ontario and visiting Georgian Bay while growing informed her imagery. Recurring subject matter in Robin’s work are real and imagined characters, as well as symbols of comfort and childhood. Being inspired by nostalgia and storybooks, Robin creates cute and colourful narrative artwork.
Jiaying Xu is a third-year Honours Bachelor of Craft and Design –
Glass student at Sheridan College. With assistance from Zhouquan Peng, she
created a chair with a symbol that represents one thing everyone nowadays can’t
without: the Internet. People may be attracted by the WiFi symbol and come
closer to the chair, however, there is no WiFi to be found, only life and
nature. It reminds people what they truly rely upon to live: great nature.
Kiren McNeice is in their second year of the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College. They based their chair design concept on the wide range of natural wonders in Canada and the beauty of an evening sunset. In their free time, Kiren enjoys making elaborate costumes and props for their own use as well as for others in the community. They are pursuing a career in prop-making, costuming, and scenic paint for film, television, and theatre.
Ziggy Philpott is in his second year of the Technical Production for the Performing Arts Industry program at Sheridan College. Ziggy enjoys spending his time painting and sculpting. This year, his focuses are scenic art, props, and carpentry. His chair design was based on a series of paintings he created, meant to look similar to his favourite childhood candy, Jawbreakers. He wanted to have fun with the design and create something colourful that would catch the eye of those walking by.
Alex Bromaroff is a first-year student in the Honours Bachelor of Illustration program at Sheridan College who enjoys portraiture and mediums of all kinds. From Port Elgin, Ontario, she painted a harbour-themed chair for the At Home in Bronte: Winter 2021 installation. Coming from a harbour-side town herself, she wanted to celebrate the fresh, breath-taking beauty of the lake and harbour and commemorate it through her pastel, airy colours. The storytelling of the chair comes through as it brings the spark and excitement of visiting Bronte Village.
Dawn-Angela Seeley is a fine artist from Oakville who painted 5 chairs for the art installation. She paints in traditional styles of realism and impressionism in a purist form by mixing from 3 primary colours. Dawn-Angela loves painting plein air or outside as much as possible and teaching summer camps on location at the Oakville Harbour. Harbours are really her thing!
Shennel Thomas is an abstract artist from Brampton who painted ten chairs in the art show. Her series uses a fluid art style to illustrate aspects of Bronte that stood out to her. This Spring she chose represent the sun, trails, Lake Ontario, rainbows and Spring itself. The fluid art technique allows colours to be swirled together to create art that both complements the other chairs in the exhibit while also standing out and telling a story of their own.
Laura Marotta is a sculptor from Hamilton who painted 3 chairs for the Summer 2021 installation. Laura creates both large- and small-scale sculptures. Her practice is based in geometry and modular constructions. In her chair series, Laura specifically chose a polygon pattern as it relates back to her own practice of working with geometric shapes. She looks to reflect her love of pattern and colour in her chair designs. The colour scheme for her chairs represents spring and are sure to catch viewers’ eyes.
Myriam Suarez is a visual artist and early childhood educator initially from Mexico City and currently residing in Niagara. Myriam painted 5 chairs for the summer exhibit. In her chair series, Myriam looks to express her Mexican and South American roots. For example, her design elements are influenced by Talavera, Huichol and Loteria. She made one chair to express the inclusion and equality in Canada, pushing the idea that art makes us one. She also made a chair to symbolize Bronte and its beautiful harbour.
Leslie Phelan painted 20 chairs in her chair series “Birds and Beasts of Bronte,” which looks to celebrate the local wildlife in the area. She is a proud former Oakville resident and has done previous mural work in our very own Bronte. If you observe her chairs closely, you can see that on each arm chair has either a paw-print or something related to the animal.
Rafia Shafiq is a craft artist from Oakville who painted five chairs. Although she specializes in embroidery art, she was able to translate her experience with colorful designs to a large-scale paint project and represent aspects of Bronte in a bold way. Her chairs depict iconic parts of Bronte, making them feel right at home in the exhibit. She painted the chairs while also running her full-time craft business and taking care of her daughter.
Sarah Skrlj, a Toronto-based artist, painted ten chairs. Sarah’s chairs convey three themes: the streets of Bronte, wildlife in the area, and the land and sea that make Bronte so unique and beautiful. Sarah specializes in patterned and mural art, telling stories through patterns and use of colour. After doing art on the side her whole life, Sarah decided it was truly her calling and went full-time last year.
Patrick Hunter is a two-spirit, Ojibwe, Woodland artist from Red Lake, Ontario who painted five chairs for the winter exhibit. In his series, Patrick tries to evoke the soul and spirit of the artwork – placing less emphasis on reality and more emphasis on the spiritual realm. His intent is to create awareness of Indigenous iconography. His work is inspired by traditional Woodland artists as well as the Canadian Group of Seven.
Robert Paterson is a freelance illustrator from Toronto. He painted five chairs in his series called “Faces of Bronte,” that explores the evolution of Bronte, not only the physical landscape, but also the people growing together alongside it. His designs take inspiration from music and old movie posters, which help set the tone of his work.