Capital Boulevard Legacy Public Art Project - Canada 150

 

This Project is funded in part by the Government of Canada, with matching investments from partners: the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the City of Edmonton; and support from the Downtown Business Association, and The Works Society.

THE PROJECT

The Art & Design in Public Places Program (The Places) is pleased to announce the commission of five new original landmark sculptures for the Capital Boulevard Legacy Public Art Project – Canada 150.  The sculptures will bring meaning to Capital Boulevard and contribute to the Boulevard being the most important street in the Province of Alberta. The five finalists, selected from an invitational call extended to 48 Alberta artists, are Leo Arcand of Alexander First Nation, Sandra Bromley of Edmonton, Firebrand Glass (Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock) of Black Diamond, Ken Macklin of Gunn, and Voyager Art & Tile (Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur) of Red Deer.

The City of Edmonton has built five focal points, one per block, designated to be prominent sites for “primary public art and design works”. These sites are positioned in the mid-block along Capital Boulevard, allowing for pedestrian and vehicular traffic to flow around them on all sides (vehicles moving North-South and pedestrians East-West).  Capital Boulevard encompasses five blocks of 108th Street between 99th Avenue and 104th Avenue. Centennial Plaza is located south of the intersection at 99th Avenue and 108th Street.

The five commissioned sculptures will be a legacy for Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. Alberta artists will contribute to the interpretation and storytelling of Canada’s past, present and future. The sculptures will reflect Canadian landscapes, culture, history and/or values such as diversity, inclusion, reconciliation, and inspiring youth. The artworks will be a symbol of community collaboration and partnership as citizens come together for Canada 150. In addition, these five sculptures will become part of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Collection.

THE LOCATION

Capital Boulevard encompasses five blocks of 108th Street between 99th Avenue and 104th Avenue. Centennial Plaza is located south of the intersection at 99th Avenue and 108th Street. The City of Edmonton has built five focal points, one per block, designated to be prominent sites for “primary public art & design works”. These five focal points (sites) are positioned in the mid-block along Capital Boulevard, allowing for pedestrian and vehicular traffic to flow around them on all sides (vehicles moving North-South and pedestrians East-West).

The Capital Boulevard Re-Design was a renovation project to complement the Government of Alberta’s restoration of the Federal Building and the creation of the new Centennial Plaza. The new ceremonial 108th street highlights the connection of the Provincial Legislature to Alberta’s capital city and celebrates the shared history between Alberta and Edmonton, while providing a grand view from the Alberta Legislature to MacEwan University.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Site 1: Firebrand Glass "Transect" 

Firebrand Glass is a collaboration between award winning artists Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock. Both artists credit the natural environments in which they were raised for forming their artist aesthetics: for Reimer, southern Alberta is expressed in her tendency towards the simplicity of light and form, while Rock, from northern Saskatchewan, explores the fertile point between boundaries. Their work is collected internationally including the private collection of the former Prime Minister in Ottawa as well as the Emperor of Japan. Their sculpture for Capital Boulevard, Transect, is inspired by the concept of landmarks. “We feel,” the artists state, “that the sculpture will celebrate the interconnections of people that make a community.”

“The glass and stainless steel sculpture… with its rhizomatic structure connecting the various window apertures celebrates the interconnections of people that make a community. “

- Firebrand Glass (Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock), Artist Finalists

Site 2: Voyager Art & Tile "Star Gazer - Koo-koo-sint"

Copyright Image Maquette - Voyager Art & Tile.jpg

Voyager Art & Tile (Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur) designs and creates public art and a line of decorative tile. Both artists hold MFAs from Ohio State University, and maintain solo art careers alongside their collaborative work. Star Gazer - Koo-koo-sint, their sculpture for Capital Boulevard, celebrates the life and work of David Thompson, whose early explorations gave shape to the land and the locations of many of our cities. Voyager Art & Tile “feel this artwork will visually celebrate the spirit of David Thompson’s journeys and will cause the viewer to stop and ponder the exploration and connectivity he had with the land, stars, people, flora and fauna, as he recorded these details in his quest to map the country.”          

“The sculpture Star Gazer - Koo-koo-sint is about David Thompson; the explorer, cartographer and voyageur. A silhouette of David Thompson is seated looking through his sextant high upon a tripod of canoes. The canoes themselves are embellished with images depicting his explorations, maps, family, stars and his connection with the local indigenous people, who gave him the respected name Koo-koo-sint meaning “star-gazer” for which the sculpture is named.”

 - Voyager Art & Tile (Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur), Artist Finalists

Site 3: Sandra Bromley "Sentinel"

Sandra Bromley’s artworks have appeared in solo and group exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and North America. Her multidisciplinary, interactive art includes traditional sculpture as well as video, sound, photography, and installation. Graduating from the University of Alberta in 1979 with a BFA (Distinction) in sculpture, Bromley has received numerous prestigious awards throughout her career. Since 2000, Sandra has focused her studio artistic work on themes of peace and conflict.   About her sculpture for Capital Boulevard, Sentinel, which will be created from stone sourced from all 13 Canadian provinces and territories, Bromley states that it “is a uniquely Canadian artwork about strength, diversity and inclusion. It is an artwork that acknowledges and honors our natural and our human history.”

“Sentinel is a sculptural stone tower created from the ancient rock of Canada's thirteen provinces and territories.” 

- Sandra Bromley, Artist Finalist

Site 4: Leo Arcand "Nature's Harmony"

Leo Arcand is a full-time sculptor from Alexander First Nation, whose works have been acquired nationally by corporate and government collections, including the private collection of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Arcand’s artistic practice is based on the ancestral knowledge passed down to him from his father and uncle. His sculptures have many levels of meaning, but he operates on the premise of spiritual balance, respect for living things and an appreciation for all cultural beliefs. Arcand’s sculpture Nature’s Harmony for Capital Boulevard represents the universal lessons that can be learned through the metaphors of nature. As Arcand states, “I feel that the time has come to talk about the past, to share the lived experience of my people with everyone so that a new era of understanding can commence.”

“We will never know how to embrace the beauty of one’s knowledge, love, culture, prayer, and way of life until we share it with truth, love, and understanding. Bringing it to life in stone forever is my gift I share.”  

 - Leo Arcand, Artist Finalist  

Site 5: Ken Macklin "world enough, and time"

Ken Macklin is one of several constructivist sculptors who emerged in Edmonton during the 1980s.  Macklin earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction from the University of Alberta in 1978 and studied advanced sculpture at St. Martins School of Art in London, England in 1979/80. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Macklin is renowned for the creation of large-scale, abstract sculptures, such as his sculpture for Capital Boulevard. Macklin states, “Conceptually, my plan is to examine the notions of time. To me, time is not always linear, but simultaneous. Our thoughts and emotions in the present are coloured by the past, through memory and by the future through hope.”

“In my sculptural mobile world enough, and time past, present and future converge in colourful spheres suspended atop a graceful column intended, in this year of our sesquicentennial, to inspire viewers to honour the past, to embrace the present and to glimpse the future.”

- Ken Macklin, Artist Finalist

MESSAGES FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND PROJECT PARNTERS

 “The Capital Boulevard Legacy Public Art Project – Canada 150 will enrich Canada’s cultural heritage with a legacy of five magnificent sculptures that reflect the image of Canada. The 150th anniversary of Confederation is a unique opportunity to highlight our past, our present and our future with pride.  In 2017, let’s get inspired by the creativity of Canadian artists!”

- Randy Boissonnault, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament (Edmonton Centre)

“The Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) is thrilled to partner with the Capital Boulevard Legacy Public Art Project to commission five new artworks by Albertan artists for Canada’s 150th anniversary. As a permanent part of the AFA collection, these treasures will be cared for and maintained for all Albertans to enjoy for generations to come.”

- Liam Oddie, Acting Chair of the Board, Alberta Foundation for the Arts

“The five Legacy Public Artworks will become important visual identifiers in the city.  The five major outdoor sculptures procured and celebrated through the project, will mark the boulevard, bring further meaning to the ceremonial street, celebrate the history, and tell the story of Canada 150 through the creative energy of Alberta artists and designers.”

- David Holdsworth, Senior Planner, Planning & Design, Urban Planning and Environment Branch, Sustainable Development Department, City of Edmonton

"With the immense growth and sheer number of projects underway in Edmonton's downtown, it can be easy to overlook the importance of making our streets and public spaces appealing to the eyes.  This partnership will ensure public art is supported as we continue to grow." 

- Alyson Hodson, Chair, Downtown Business Association


PROJECT ESSAY BY TANYA HARNETT

The northern view of the Alberta Provincial Legislative building is both stunning and iconic. The dome of the capital building can be seen from five blocks away on 108th street. It is along this cobblestoned street that the Capital Boulevard Legacy Public Art Project presents the five commemorative sculptures that mark Canada’s 150th year of confederacy.

These Canada 150 sculptures are elegantly staged on five different avenues from the 99th avenue block to the 104th avenue block. Moving north from Legislative building we can find the artworks; Transect by Firebrand Glass (Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock), Star Gazer – Koo-koo-sint by Voyage Art & Tile (Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur), Sentinel by Sandra Bromley, Nature’s Harmony by Leo Arcand and world enough, and time by Ken Macklin.

These artworks call for us to locate ourselves in the grand narrative of place, time and history. Both Leo Arcand’s Nature’s Harmony and Sandra Bromley’s Sentinel reminds us that this land holds a long memory, significantly older than our young country. Bromley’s artwork presents the indigenous stone from all of the thirteen provinces and territories. Her work is a graceful core sample of Canada. Sentinel is an old spirit that stands on guard for the earth itself. Leo Arcand, from the Alexander First Nation, also employs stone as a medium. He carves into the rock revealing old stories of the Indigenous people of this land. His sculpture work depicts the spirits of the Bear, the Buffalo, the Eagle and the people. By having his work in the heart of the city he calls for all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to remember the past, to gather together, to learn and to share deep knowledge.                                                                                                      

Canada was, and continues to be, built upon the diligent work of the diverse group of Canadian citizens, immigrants and settlers. Dawn Detarando and Brian McArthur’s Star Gazer – Koo-koo-sint celebrates the life and work of the early explorer and cartographer, David Thompson (1770- 1857) or Koo-koo-sint, the name given to him by First Nations people. Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock’s piece Transect shares the multi-faceted history of Alberta in beautiful glass that is mounted on a structure that binds us together universally and molecularly.

Ken Macklin’s vision for his work world enough, and time is well represented by the Capital Boulevard Legacy Public Art Project – Canada 150. Macklin suggests that we honour the past, embrace the present and glimpse to the future. He has stated that he wishes to see ‘action to sculpture’ and on 108th street we see sculptures in action. In all the hopes of a strong future Canada, these sculptures call for positive human interaction and thoughtful engagement for all Canadians in the celebration Canada’s 150th year of confederacy.

Tanya Harnett is an Associate Professor in a joint appointment in the Department of Art and Design, and the Faculty of Native Studies. She has also taught at the University of Lethbridge, and Grant MacEwan University. Tanya has exhibited extensively locally, nationally, and internationally in both group and solo shows, and has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including grants from the AFA, Canada Council for the Arts, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Tanya is a member of the Carry-The-Kettle First Nations in Saskatchewan, and is deeply committed to promoting the work of indigenous artists in Canada and beyond. Such work has included her participation in the creation of the University of Lethbridge BFA Native American Art in Studio and in Art History/Museum Studies. In 1990, Tanya was an intern for The Works and is proud to participate on The Places, Capital Boulevard Legacy Project.