Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Introduction to Vancouver's Public Art Program 2

As part of my University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee summer 2010  graduate course Sustainable Cities: Vancouver I decided to follow my interests in the art world and discover how the city of Vancouver has  included art in its city planning and development.  My class was eight days and stayed for twelve.  I practically wore down a pair shoes walking around the the city trying to document as much public art as I could within that time.  Afterward I travelled to the American coast cities of Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco in hopes of seeing what type of art they have on display and to discover how their art programs operate so I can take that knowledge and apply what I see as hits and misses here as a planner here in Wisconsin.

Since 1990, Vancouver has been bringing art to public spaces and operating a public arts program as part of city development, commissioning original contemporary artwork of all forms from artists to display in the public spaces of the city.  The city works with emerging and established artists, in both new and traditional styles, as well as stand-alone commissions and artist collaborations.

Two ways the city includes contemporary art practices into the city planning development is through either their civic or private programs.  Both programs are overseen by the city's Cultural Services department.  The civic program sees that projects at any city-owned space like civic buildings, greenways, parks, and any public space are being developed and operated.  The private program depends upon the funding of developments in the private sector.  Similar to other cities "Percent for Art" programs, any new private development over 100,000 square feet are required to donate $1.81 (2009 rate) per buildable foot to go towards an art installation in the public area of the development.

Vancouver is using its public art program in order to allow artists to express the the spirit, values, vision, and harmony of the city.  Art makes the city become alive through expression and creates a focal points for human activity and thought within the urban scale.  In other words, any new and interesting art on display will get people's attention and make the city bustle with life and vigor.  A city without any new art will be perceived by many as culturally and socially stagnant.  A city develops  community, pride, cohesion, and identity through the creative expressions it commissions.  They can push traditional community values, or make a tough spot in urban areas more appealing.

Nine volunteers appointed by the City Council make up Vancouver's Public Art Committee.  Those in this group are given the opportunity to oversee and guide the arts program.  The group consists of at least two artists, five members  from the art field at large, an architect, a landscape architect, a developer, and some citizen.  They guide where the city's art program is going, but actually don't pick out the artwork.  They manage the public process and panels that do.  They advise the City Council and Parks Board on public art issues.

The public can get involved in the process by direct public participation through meetings and panels through becoming an appointee on the committee, and through money matters when brought up by city council or through private sector development.

Right now the city has several incredible art programs with public artworks on display across the city.  As part of the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics,the city is hosting many pieces of artwork that display the spirit and values of the city during and after the winter games.  In another program, the Biennale, the city is hosting a program of temporary and intriguing public art displays that change every two years.  Then at Science World there is a exhibition of the Cool Globes, in which artists create statements about global environmental issues with over-sized globes as their canvases.  And finally, The InTransitBC rail lines is celebrating transit through art promotions at their stations as part of their Canada Line Public Art Program.

Public Art and Sustainability 2

I've been asked in the scope of my project how exactly does public art have anything to with sustainability. Sustainable development is process of resource use in which current human needs are met, while preserving the environment and resources for the needs of the present, as well as for the generations of the future.  Public art is platform in which the city commissions artists to speak on behalf of the city and the public.  Art is a communication tool, and public art is mouthpiece that a city.  If a city has focused its energies on the formation and upkeep of a sustainable development program, they will be wise to use their public art to educate and inform the city about the whys, hows, and whatevers of their environmentally friendly direction.  Artwork can promote sustainability through city development for fostering place-making and community.  Artwork can be tool for sustainability through the creative re-use of materials.
Artwork can get the attention needed to promote a direction, and change.

Vancouver's Civic and Community Art 2

  • Welcome to the Land of Light, by Henry Tsang
  • The Solar Bike Tree, by Spring Gillard

  • Khenko

  • Aperture Project at the Library

  • CuTArT Crossroads:  Community Seat

  • AIDS Memorial, by Bruce Wilson, Mark Tessler, Susanna Barrett

  • Lightshed, by Liz Magor

  • Community Walls/ Community Voices, Richard Tetrault with Dan Bushnell and Jerry Whitehead

  • Sliding Edge, by Jacqui Metz and Nancy Chew, Muse Atelier

  • Chinatown Millennium Gate, by Joe Wai, Qu Wan, Vincent Law, Chi-Ho Yeung, Ronald Yip

  • Watch yOUr Step

  • Four Boats Stranded: Red and Yellow, Black and White, by Ken Lum
  • Footprints, by CETA

  • Woodlands Tree, by Eric Neighbor

  • Trout Lake Community Centre Mural, by Linda Pearce

  • Spirits in a Landscape, by Abraham Anghik Ruben

  • Marking High Tide and Waiting for Low Tide Pavilion, Don Vaughan

  • Harry Jerome, by Jack Harman

  • Terry Fox Memorial, by Franklin Allen, Ian Bateson, Stephen Harman

  • Inukshuk, by Alvin Kanak

  • Bird of Spring, by Abraham Etungat

  • Untitled by Volker Steigemann

  • Gateway to the Northwest Passage, by Alan Chung Hung

  • Girl in a Wetsuit, by Elek Imredy

  • George Cunningham Memorial Sundial, by Gerhard Class

  • The Miracle Mile, by Jack Harman

  • Empress of Japan

  • The Postman, by Paul Huda

  • Buiders, by Joyce McDonald

  • Angel of Victory, by Coeur de Lion MacCarthy

  • Captain George Vancouver, by Charles Marega
  • King Edward Fountain, by Charles Marega

  • Grandview-Terrace Welcoming Poles, by Illene Pevec, Ramona Gus

  • False Creek Totem, by Eric Neighbour

  • Shanghai Lions

  • Placed Upon the Horizon (Casting Shadows), by Lawrence Weiner

  • Province Newspaper Memorial, by Gerhard Class