For a year now, Lynne Gaetz has been volunteering her time with Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Farmworker Hub, helping to provide seasonal farm workers in town with the support they need during their lives in Canada.
“A lot of these folks don’t see their families, sometimes, for five to eight months a year, and so, I feel for them,” she said.
This month, she’s hoping to give back to this community of workers using her passion for art.
Gaetz, who’s a full-time artist, is hosting a new art exhibition at the Ironwood Cider House featuring a variety of multimedia artworks. This work is available for sale, and Gaetz has decided to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Farmworker Hub in Virgil.
“I’ve been wanting to do something for the Farmworker Hub ever since I started there last year,” she said.
Gaetz’s exhibit, “Fragments,” is on now at the cider house and will be until Sept. 27. She’s also hosting an open house for the exhibit on Sept. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. Fifty per cent of her art sales will go to the hub.
“I thought, well, if I can help by giving some money from this show – and hopefully, hopefully it will do OK – then that’s good for them,” she said.
NOTL’s seasonal farm workers have very difficult jobs, she said, and she believes what the hub does is extremely important.
“I thought, ‘If I’m gonna give to a local charity, I should give to one that I might actually know something about,’” she said.
Julia Buxton-Cox, founder of the Farmworker Hub, said she’s very appreciative and the money will be used towards everyday items like toiletries, winter balaclavas and men’s winter gloves.
There are 16 pieces of art for sale at the exhibit as well as multiple print options.
The print options are a great, low-cost option for those who just want to support the hub, but don’t want to spend a large amount, said Gaetz.
Gaetz lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake and has been a full-time artist for about nine years, but has been painting for much longer than that.
Previously, she was a teacher in Montréal.
Her new exhibit will display a variety of mixed-media dreamscape paintings.
“They include a lot of words that resonate with me and photographs of my own art,” she said.
She said the paintings are like a history of her journey as an artist.
“They can look like a cityscape or like a bridge or (like) arches,” she said.
She prints photos of some of her old art, cuts them up and creates a collage on the newer pieces.
Some of her paintings even use recycled materials that would have ended up in the landfill, such as tiles and metal molding.
She also adds stones and sea glass to some of her smaller artworks.
“I like that, because really, they have different textures when you look at them, and the light reflects differently,” she said.
She said some of her art can take her weeks, if not months, to complete — it all depends on the piece itself.
No matter how long it takes to finish a piece, her art space is a meditative place where she can let go of everything, she said.
“When I go to my studio, I stop thinking about anything else, I just have the music on and I just see colours and ideas,” she said.
She added that she also does a lot of figurative work, but with a “surreal element” to it.
“I don’t use reference photos and just paint what’s in the photo, I tend to paint from my imagination,” she said.
While she often creates her art for herself, she said it’s always a pleasure to share it with the rest of the world.
“Other people might find it resonates for them as well,” she said.
The prints being sold at the exhibit range from $50 to $60 in price, while handmade artwork will cost upwards of $4,000 for the larger pieces.
The Ironwood Cider House is located at 1425 Lakeshore Rd.
Somer Slobodian, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report