Thank you for taking the time to learn more about Wawa's unique Heritage Doors. This project has proven to be a fantastic way of commemorating some of the colourful characters who are an integral part of Wawa's rich history. Heather Sinnott's artwork is superb. Her eye for detail and her creative spirit bring each personality to life on each door. Purchase the new Wawa Heritage Door book here!
I have taken the time to reproduce some of the stories located on each panel (hopefully without some of the annoying typo's). I am also including a little behind the scenes info on why we decided to choose the different people for each door and some further little anecdotes that did not make it to the story panel. Below you will find a brief description of how these Heritage Doors came to be. I also invite anyone to connect with me if they are looking for further information on the individual doors, or how to start your own heritage door project.
"Wawa's Heritage Doors are a truly creative and effective way to combine history and art in a visually attractive cultural display for both Wawa residents and visitors to enjoy!"
Behind the doors - The size of an actual door, this project initially started as a borrowed idea from Houghton, Michigan. While travelling through this Superior city, Wawa's Tourism and Marketing Director Lori Johnson noticed a vibrant display of large art work focused on an under appreciated section of the community. Each door portrayed the image and story of a local Grandmother in a variety of colours and medium. The brainchild behind this project was renowned Michigan artist Mary Wright. In 2008 Mary and a university student travelled to Wawa and helped initiate our very own energetic display of 200 Grandma Doors throughout the community. Over the next two years, gender equality and increased focus on some of Wawa's more unique historical characters, led to the evolution of the Heritage Doors. As a local historian and author I was thrilled to be asked to provide the research and stories while Algoma artist and kindred spirit Heather Sinnott put brush to "door". Funding and supplies were coordinated by Lori Johnson and the Town of Wawa. Heather's detailed artwork was originally painted directly on treated household doors. Simple plywood doors were no match for the weather and climate of our northern town. In 2012, the doors came to life on more durable wood products and treated for outdoor display. In 2013, the first set of doors which could no longer sit outside, were photographed and transferred to a more permanent outdoor display format.
For more information on starting your own Heritage Door project, please do not hesitate to contact me. It is truly a worthwhile community art project which has a transformative effect in any setting.