Artist in Residence at Quetico Provincial Park

Geri-Schrab-artIn August of 2007 watercolor artist Geri Schrab spent two weeks living her passion in Quetico Provincial Park as part of the new Artist in Residence program. Schrab was the second artist to participate in the park program, which received assistance from individual members of the Quetico Foundation who made personal contributions. The purpose of the Artist in Residence program is to enhance connections between the park and the public through the medium of art. Artists are provided with a prospector’s tent, propane grill, a canoe and the use of a quaint studio that is actually a remodeled old pumphouse overlooking French Lake. They are also granted free and unlimited access to the wilderness for two weeks.

Schrab’s home is located in DeForest near Madison, Wisconsin. She has been an avid canoeist in the Quetico Superior wilderness for almost a decade but this program enabled her to focus on her art without being too concerned about the logistics and expenses of living in the wilds. The inspiration for Schrab’s art radiates from petroglyphs and pictographs created by aboriginal people worldwide. She considers her art as spiritual work and a respect for the individuals and cultures that created the original art on stone is always paramount for her. Schrab’s quest to experience rock carvings and paintings has taken her to sites in seventeen states, Australia and Canada. Her personal mission is to bring the energy and beauty she finds in these sacred places to canvas so that others can experience it for themselves.

The caveat, that artists are required to contribute one piece of art they create during their stay to the park, is one of the reasons superintendent Robin Reilly supports this initiative. Displaying the various forms of art created by the Artist in Residence Program will enable those who do not
venture deep into the park wilderness, to better understand and appreciate its splendor and history. Schrab’s gift to the park (pictured above) was inspired by many different pictographs and the feeling of personal discovery canoeists experience as they paddle from lake to lake, far from the trappings of the twenty-first century, and encounter these timeless images.

One of the most powerful memories of Schrab’s two weeks in Quetico occurred on a particularly calm day on Lac la Croix. Accompanied by her husband, they glided in silence beneath towering cliffs scrutinizing the delicate ochre images on the rock walls. Something urged Schrab to look downward and as she gazed into the still dark water below, she saw pictographs reflected back clear and crisp, with an ethereal clarity that stirred her soul.

Geri-SchrabIt was moments like these, which were the result of two focused and supported weeks, which
kindled Schrab’s passions and resulted in deeper and more meaningful work than she could have anticipated. Her final words about the program, “It was a dream come true, it really was.”

For more information on this program contact Quetico Provincial Park Superintendent Robin Reilly at robin.reilly@ontario.ca. For pictures of Geri Schrab’s adventure and information on her artwork go to her website at http://www.artglyphs.com/.

By Rob Kesselring, Wilderness News Contributor


This article appeared in Wilderness News Summer 2008

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