The Places Vision

“The vision of many different people working together toward common goals is catching on,” says Eric Newell, Honourary Lifetime Member of the Edmonton Business Council for the Visual Arts. “And, as we continue to move forward, it’s become obvious that the benefits of the Art & Design In Public Places Program will be widely shared and will last for generations.”

The Places Summary
In cooperation with the City of Edmonton and pursuant to the Capital City Downtown Plan (1997), Art & Design in Public Places (The Places) was first introduced by the Edmonton Business Council for Visual Arts (The Council) in 1998. Subsequently, the development of the program was more than a year in the making and was launched in November 1999 as a community based, multi-partner initiative designed to help revitalize Edmonton’s downtown through the placement of publicly and privately funded works of art and design.

Recognizing that urban beautification enhances the overall environment in which residents live and work, The Places improves social and economic conditions in the community by introducing art and design projects each year. The Places raises the profile and livability of Downtown and is used as a model for other areas of the City, increasing attractiveness for business, residents, and tourists alike.

The Downtown Business Association is the Host Organization for The Places under the Capital City Downtown Plan with The Works International Visual Arts Society (The Society) providing Executive Directorship for the overall program. Mechanisms are in place to encourage community involvement, overall transparency and accountability in the selection of art and design projects for development. Artists or designers are awarded commissions after local, provincial or national competitions are held. The Places partners with the Edmonton Arts Council as required in the review and selection of the competition entries through a two-stage community jury process. The Works Society provides Project Management and contracts the successful artist or designer to complete the commissions.

Funding and Partners Overview and Project Update

The Places has surpassed its initial goal of completing 15 projects (2.3 million value) in a 5-year period and has now raised over 7.9 million in funding invested into The Places (cash and in kind contributions) developing over 69 projects.  The Founding and Ongoing Partners for The Places include The City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Journal, the Downtown Business Association and The Edmonton Business Council for Visual Arts.

9Triple8 Public Art Project

The Places acquired original artworks for display in the 9Triple8 Jasper Building public lobbies, situated at the corner of 99th Street and Jasper Avenue. Through the artworks selected, the choice of materials, concept and subject matter complement the new lobby space while reflecting on Alberta's economy, culture, landscape and spirit. The six established and emerging contemporary Alberta artists showcased are: Sandra Bromley, Steve Coffey, Nicole Galellis, Glenn Guillet, Al Reynold and Lucas Seaward.

Sculpture By Invitation Program

The Places Sculpture by Invitation Program gets large-scale sculptures out of the studio and onto the streets. The program celebrates the creativity thriving in Edmonton's arts community and surrounding regions. 

The Places continued its eighth year of The Sculpture By Invitation Program at Shaw Conference Centre, which exhibits sculpture at a street level within the Shaw Conference Centre DREAM.big Plaza. Currently showing is "Susan Owen Kagan: A Retrospective" featuring five sculptures spanning over four decades. 

"The artist's language is the memory from sight. Art is made from dreams, and visions, and things not known, and least of all from things that can be said. It comes from the inside of who you are when you face yourself. It is the inner declaration of purpose; it is a factor which determines artistic identity." - David Smith 1959

2014 marks my 30th year graduating from the Fine Arts program at the University of Alberta. Since then, I have enjoyed living and working in Edmonton within a community of sculptors and painters unique in their dedication to producing the best modernist art of their time. My personal approach to making art is best summed up in the paragraph above; I learn and experience visually and, in turn, respond intuitively. The language comes from visions that cannot be described or explained, it is a reflection of what I see, feel, admire, imagine and remember. My purpose has always been to tap into these experiences, capture the visions, and hold on to whatever sifts through. - Susan Owen Kagan

The newest location for The Sculpture by Invitation Program is the recently redeveloped Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) headquarters. Three artists from Edmonton and the surrounding region were selected to display one piece each in the group exhibition. The featured artists are: Mark Bellows, Katherine Sicotte and Rob Willms. 

McCauley Family Life Videography Project

The McCauley Family Life Videography Project was envisioned to reveal a side of McCauley that is often overlooked by the greater Edmonton community. To represent McCauley as a positive place to live and work, as well as a neighbourhood that has great cultural experiences to offer to us all. Working with the McCauley Neighbourhood Revitalization Matching Grant Program, The Places commissioned Paula Kirman to create "McCauley Moments," which was first screened in November 2013

Edmonton Neon Sign Museum

The Edmonton Neon Sign Museum was developed  by The City of Edmonton, the Alberta Sign Association, TELUS, the Downtown Business Association and The Places. The museum celebrates the history of neon signage in the city, and creates an engaging outdoor space for cultural tourism as part of the bustling 104th Street Promenade. Launched in February 2014 with the installation of 8 restored historic neon signs, the museum will continue to grow as additional signs - a goal of 30 total - are added in the coming years. Each current sign has an accompanying plaque with text panels, speaking to the history of Edmonton.

95th Street Art Banners Project

Installed Winter 2013/14, the 95th Street Art Banners Project is comprised of 52 sculptural art banners featuring imagery created by Edmonton Artist/Designer Dennis Lenarduzzi. The dynamic large-scale metal art banners greet visitors to McCauley with the slogans "Meet Me in McCCauley" and "Benvenuti," creating one-of-of-kind visual identifiers for 95th Street and enhancing the streetscape of Little Italy. 

"Resonating from two different perspectives, the 95th Street Art Banners illustrate 'italianismo' from the perspective of Edmonton's Italian community and also engage all Edmontonians into 'la dolce vita' - the sweet life." -  Dennis Lenarduzzi

The Places Education Initiatives

The Places Education Initiatives to date include: a total of 242 Scholarships awarded annually at The Council’s Event - The Works Summer Solstice Gala ; a total of twenty Internships have been completed under The Places Internship Program, under the direction of the Executive Director, a Lecture Series introducing national and international artists, designers and architects to Edmonton audiences; Conferences and Symposia; Temporary Public Art Installations; and a year-round, self-guided, Public Art Walking Tour featuring a selection of works of art and design produced by The Places.