While the easing of COVID-19 restrictions means many are excited to gather again, it also will allow artists, musicians and actors to seek isolation at the re-opened Halls Island Artist Residency.

Artists who had residencies cancelled in 2020 will have the chance to dive into their art form on the scenic island on Koshlong Lake.

“Halls Island Artist Residency is an amazing opportunity for artists to come to Haliburton, be inspired by its beauty and add to the rich fabric of our local community,” said Don Gage, co-chair of Halls Island residency in a press release.

“We’re excited by what our resident artists will do this summer.”

The residency is set to see its first guest on June 12, with the Haliburton County Development Corporation’s Local Initiatives Program helping to fund the reopening.

In 2019, a wide range of accomplished creatives spent time at the island: 2021’s guests are no different.

New York Times best-selling writer Cathy Marie Buchanan, R&B singer Sandra Bouza, playwright Beverley Cooper and more are set to attend.

While in-person programming is cancelled to comply with COVID-19 regulations, virtual programs will be announced throughout the summer.

So far, residency guests will be invited to partake in a video project: Escape to Halls Island. In a six-minute video, they’ll be encouraged to explore themes of creativity – however that looks for each person.

In November, the Haliburton Arts Council will host a premiere of the compiled videos.

In the past, residency guests have hosted readings, writing workshops and invited the public to participate in video projects.

Despite that programming shift due to the pandemic, solitude, quiet and space to create are key parts of the residency which has been operating on the private island since 2019.

“We’ve all been forced into isolation throughout the year,” said Joan Duhaime, Halls Island arts administrator. “But I think these artists are looking for that anyways for their creative process.”

“It also offers them a different location,” said Duhaime. “Isolation from their daily grind – isolation from [their] house.”

For artists looking for off-grid space to create next year, the residency will be accepting applications for the summer of 2022 starting in November.

You can find out more at hallsisland.ca

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