Saturday, January 30, 2010

They've begun to arrive!

The international press has begun to arrive in town. Thursday night we met the 'equipe' France Television at a restaurant in Gas Town; I was proud to say 'bienvenue au Canada" and to be able to address them in their native tongue - sharing the french language that is also part of the heritage of Canada.

Then on Friday we saw a group from Australian Television queueing up - they've got their official black jackets with their country emblem embroidered into the sleeves.

There is just nothing like the excitement of recognizing citizens from other countries in a situation like this - they're guests of our country, our province, our city - and no matter what our involvement with the Olympics, when we say "Welcome!" it's a celebration.

My writing skills fail me here to describe this experience - a recognition of another, the thrill of pride of country, it's a recognition that each of us belongs to the world. We're all here to share this unique experience -- where representatives of all its countries step out with pride and show off their young, their strong, their best. I'm gushing, perhaps and oversimplifying but it's an unmistakable thrill, a 'namaste', just extending that welcome. It's their experience too, their little moment, part of their memory of their stay here, just as it is mine.

The hotel has been undergoing a transformation - everything wrapped in the blue Vancouver 2010 signage from the indoor pillars to the new, outdoor fences and every other person has a badge with VANOC on it.

The artwork arrived; was hung on the wall and my camera failed me; I think it conked in the cold storage, so I wasn't able to get pictures of all the faces of the men and women at the hotel who helped us these past six weeks.

Monday we move to Richmond and begin installing the paintings. Friday the crew took the day off in preparation, and Gord began to display a bit of energy towards the end of the day-not-in-minus-28-degrees.

Today - CBC TV will broadcast Ian Hanomansing's piece on Ice Gate. At Sunnycrest Mall in Gibsons at 1 PM tomorrow, the dancers of PERFORMANCE FOR ICE GATE will do the dance for the first time in public!

There were five mentions of Ice Gate today on Google Alert. Look what we got on C-TV Calgary, reprinted online

You can’t have an Olympic Winter Games without ice, especially in the home city of the Richmond Olympic Oval, the premier venue of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Exclusive to the Ozone is the Ice Gate, a mammoth and spectacular ice art installation by Paintings Below Zero artist Gordon Halloran. The Ice Gate is presented by Inniskillin Wines, an Official Wine Supplier of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Inniskillin will also present a 60-foot tasting bar, the Icewine Gallery, where wine lovers can sample Icewine (including Inniskillin’s Commemorative Icewine), with proceeds benefiting Canadian athletes).

Al Burns photo at the top.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Shining

12 more days ‘til opening. We're laying out the paintings in huge sections as they will appear on the wall. This is my favorite part - the shining up of the surface to glistening.

Today, at the freezing studio warehouse, amidst the buffing, scraping, sweeping and rearranging of ice paintings in preparation for Monday installation, CBC-TV anchor Ian Hanomansing visited, covering our story for the national news on Saturday.

It was one of those chill-to-the-bone days -- indoors, that is.

His intrepid videographer Alan Stewart suited up and exposed his camera to the elements.

Ian, originally from Nova Scotia, seemed oblivious to the cold and Al stayed in the longest of anyone I’ve seen.

Finally, his fingers on the verge of frostbite, he’d had enough.

Katie, Jaz and Becky. Sometimes you just have to get them to take off the goggles.

Everyday we pass the changing city landscape in preparation for the Olympics. Looking forward to being here - on the streets closed off to traffic.

Yesterday, we approved a proof of the artwork and the invitation for ICE GATE. Here’s Erwin in that wonderful blonde lobby, checking the color saturation in a sample of a portion of the reproduction which will hang on their walls through the games.

Looking for creative ways to bring the budget down on the lighting and its install - also making of the base of the wall, and take-down. Pressure, pressure, pressure. My mother used to say, often: necessity is the mother of invention.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gord on CBC radio

This just in -- Gord Halloran quoted on CBC in a discussion re: Olympics, artists

“For me, it’s an amazing opportunity offered to artists to have an international audience in their own home city,” says painter Gordon Halloran, who participated in the Cultural Olympiad at the 2006 Games in Turin. For 2010, Halloran has a VANOC-sponsored installation outside the city in Richmond, which is not technically part of the Olympiad. ~

For the full article:

Monday, January 25, 2010


February lst, next Monday, the paintings start going up on the wall.

Today, the crew begins arranging the berg-like and flat paintings side by side on the floor according to the artist’s drawings as they will go up on the wall.

and frangible was the Word of the Day. frangible \FRAN-juh-buhl\, adjective: Capable of being broken; brittle; fragile; easily broken. Al Burns photo below.

Last week they cleaned up the workspace, preparing for the next stage. Paintings that didn't make the cut were broken, smashed, swept up and forgotten.

Katie Williams- crazy, rambunctious and outspoken Katie is here from Chicago to help out in the crunch!

At the front of the hotel, the big white tents are finished and fences around the perimeter are completed. At the Vancouver Convention Centre, where the press will be for the duration of the games, I walked past VANOC employees giving info talks to hired hands. We got a proof in today from Lorenzo for the image of Pitture Sotto Zero, the Paintings Below Zero installation for the 2006 Winter Olympics - framed, it will hang on the wall at the hotel during the games. Our invitations go out to the printers tomorrow.

Still, it rains and the float planes cross past my window, splashing into the water below. It's still light at 5 PM. 15 days to go!