Posts tagged ‘Public Art’

London to host Creative City Summit

London is holding the three-day Creative City Summit starting today, an assembly of about 140 people passionate about making their communities more fun and more interesting. Livelier, healthier, smarter.

A creative city is one that “people of all ages and ethnicities feel proud to call home,” said Robin Armistead, London’s manager of culture and an organizer of the conference. “What makes your city liveable — that’s what it’s all about.”

When e-technology allows people to move almost anywhere their ideas will take them, creative cities are about drawing them to a place where they can live.

That translates into bold new buildings and repurposed old ones, lively restaurants, cool businesses, brilliant nature, and an economy built on vision.

More information can be found here.



May 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

Main Street Bridge to be Wrapped in Yarn?


Sorry, I had to get that out of the way. Really? Like really, really? Come on now – how boring can Cambridge get that we have to resort to wrapping a downtown bridge in yarn? I’m sure there are a million other wickedly cool ideas for temporary art installations. Won’t it get dirty? haha – harhar.

Last week, Cambridge announced Sturdy was chosen as the city’s 2010 artist in residence. Her big project for the year is organizing a knitting brigade to wrap the historic bridge in yarn to honour Cambridge’s textile history. The bridge will be covered in September for a month. When it’s removed, the knitted panels will be washed and turned into scarves and blankets for distribution to community agencies.

Sure that stuff is all fine and dandy, helping the less fortunate with scarves and blankets; but can’t we recognize the future instead of clinging to our past? Perhaps we could imagine installing art pieces all throughout the city?!?  Something on a larger scale, and one that will capture peoples’ imaginations.

How about we look at some neat temporary art installations from North America, Europe, and beyond? I’ll take you on a small photo journey to get your artistic ideas pumping.

The first art exhibit I’m going to show you was installed in New York City’s Central Park in 2005 and was entitled, The Gates.

This piece of public art is a site-specific work of art by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The artists installed 7,503 vinyl “gates” along 23 miles (37 km) of pathways in Central Park in New York City. From each gate hung a panel of deep saffron-colored nylon fabric. The exhibit ran from February 12, 2005 through February 27, 2005.The Gates are similar to the tradition of Japanese Torii gates, traditionally constructed at the entrance to Shinto shrines.

The next example is one that could be easily implemented in Cambridge, running along the Grand River. The Water Dance created by artist Anne Neil and it consists of 8 large cones and 16 equally large poles arranged to lean at various angles, touching the ground in such a way as to describe the motion of raindrops landing upon the earth. Neil and her team of artists have explained the cones as an attempt to mimic the shape of hands cupped together in an attempt to catch a raindrop.

The Water Dance

The poles are abstracted replications of the poles used to measure and mark water depth. Constructed of marine quality aluminum, the interior surface of each of the cones is painted a blue tone visible to the viewer through undulating cutouts on the face of the cones. At night, solar powered bulbs turn on, illuminating the artwork with a changing sequence of watery-hued light.

How about an art installation from our sister city, Cambridge, UK? In Cambridge, they have developed an ongoing art project to celebrate Cambridge’s 800th birthday. The finale piece was entitled, “Transforming Tomorrow.”

Projected onto 2 sites, Senate House and the adjacent Old School, and the end of Kings College Chapel and the next door Gibbs Building, a combination of PIGI and video projection technologies supplied by E/T/C London were utilised in 3 separate but related animated shows. These expressed elements of the University’s dynamic science and research programmes as art in breath-taking large format scrolling images.

And finally, one that is happening in Canada currently, and built to coincide with the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, is the Vectorial Elevation.

Starting at dusk on February 4, 2010, 20 robotic searchlights will create a quiet canopy of light in the night sky above and on the sparkling surface of English Bay below with designs created by people around the world and delivered via the Internet. Called Vectorial Elevation, it is the first time the internationally celebrated work of art will be displayed in Canada and over a body of water.

The 10,000-watt lights will move and create patterns silently from locations in Vanier Park and Sunset Beach that cover an area of 100,000 square metres and be visible within 15 kilometres of the city’s downtown core, stretching to Richmond, the peaks of Cypress and Grouse mountains and freighters and boats on the water.

This large-scale temporary public art installation is co-commissioned by the City of Vancouver’s Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program and Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, presented by Bell, with support from the Province of Quebec. The installation — considered one of the world’s largest interactive artworks — is by Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and is part of CODE, the Cultural Olympiad’s Digital Edition.

Perhaps someday, perhaps…

“Experience has demonstrated that design teams should include representatives from local communities, businesses and artists in order to enrich the process and the quality of the development.” – The Essex Design Initiative


February 11, 2010 at 12:02 am Leave a comment

UW Architecture Students Vision a New Downtown Galt

A redesigned Old Galt Post Office/Fiddlers Green could showcase an open-air terrace and a cascading waterfall running into the Grand River.

A redesigned Old Galt Post Office/Fiddler's Green could showcase an open-air terrace and a cascading waterfall running into the Grand River.

A group of architecture students had to look no further than their school’s front door to find ideas for urban revitalization and design. The goal was to take a holistic approach that would revitalize a mid-sized city. Their laboratory became downtown Galt and to get the ball rolling the students sat down with members of Cambridge council in a brainstorming workshop.

One of the better concepts was to take the old Galt Post Office (formerly Fiddler’s Green) on Water Street South and breath new life into it. Students Elmutaz Elrabaa, Peter Graham and Christy Hempel decided that an addition at the rear of the building should be scrapped in favour of open-air terraces that step down to the river’s edge. Incorporated into those terraces is a cascading waterfall.

Another cheap fix is an experiment the students undertook themselves. They purchased a number of pink plastic Muskoka chairs and placed them on the concrete landing at the river’s edge beneath the Main Street bridge.

Re-developing the riverbank also pops up in two other student proposals. One would introduce a flood resistant boardwalk, planters and benches along the floodwalls, while another would reintroduce the former streetcar bridge across the river behind Barnacle Bill’s Restaurant to connect the proposed Drayton Theatre site with Water Street. A third idea would create a cantilevered walkway extending the Living Levee walkway from the former Galt Library building to the Main Street bridge.

The students have also suggested some changes on Main Street. The first would lighten and brighten the alley connecting the Dickson Street parking lot to Main Street by suspending Christmas trees from wires over the walkway. Further up at Ainslie Street, students have larger, but no less simple plans.

At the former Shoppers Drug Mart building, students would tear away the steel cladding that has hidden the upper portion of the building for years to reveal its original art deco design. Meanwhile, Lederer said Scotia Bank would have its “tired ‘70s look” updated by adding a green wall to the corner pillar.

The vision could soon lead to an extended partnership between Cambridge and the University of Waterloo.

The university’s expertise is also being called to review a series of new city master plans for economic development, arts and culture, heritage, and parks and recreation created over the last year.

Many of the plans make similar recommendations and now the city, with help from the university, may look at ways to combine some of the proposals for implementation over the next fewyears.

Congratulations from one urban designer to future architecture professionals!


October 5, 2009 at 9:53 am 3 comments

Kitchener Civic District Update

Previous Posts on this Topic:

Waterloo’s New Urban Square

A new public square in uptown Waterloo may be bustling with community events almost every weekend this summer. During the week, the square will be a place where people stop for lunch, meet friends, or sip coffee on their breaks. The new square at Waterloo Town Square should be finished mid-May, and it will be officially opened on May 30.

Waterloo Square

The $2.8-million project, on King Street at Willis Way running north to the railroad tracks, will feature six honey locust trees about 15 feet high, surrounded by tall grasses, shrubs, and perennials such as hostas and day lilies. A concrete staircase leads to the front entrance of The Shops at Waterloo Town Square, with steps in an upper terrace for seating. The main area will hold bistro-like tables and chairs, as well as benches. The square will also feature a large abstract bell created by sculptor Royden Rabinowitch. He will be in Waterloo on June 5 to officially unveil the bell.

(Click to enlarge)

Betty Ann Keller, manager of cultural development for the city, said a budget hasn’t been set up for programming at the square. Money will be used from existing recreational budgets. “Our goal in 2009 is to make it work,” she said. This summer, a concert series will be held in the uptown square from late June to August, featuring folk, rock and jazz. Other events include lunch-hour guitar lessons and ballroom dancing lessons in the evening. Summer weekends will include Opera Kitchener’s Cinderella, some of the acts of the Waterloo Jazz Festival and Uptown Country.

The city still hopes to raise $800,000 – $300,000 for the rink and $500,000 for the water wall – from the community and private sector businesses to help complete the wall and rink.


Now playing: Dead Meadow – Either Way
via FoxyTunes

May 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm Leave a comment

The Civic District Master Plan – Kitchener

The district, which is roughly bordered by Weber, Queen, Ellen and Frederick Streets is home to four of the city’s most important cultural institutions. But the spaces between those buildings, with the exception of a small park featuring a memorial to firefighters, are filled with parked cars during the day and empty stretches of asphalt over night. It could one day be part of a bustling urban space with cafes, benches, pedestrian walkways, parks, squares, an amphitheater – a district for the arts.

Local cultural institutions want to see this area transformed into a district showcasing public art exhibitions, theatre and music. There’s room for a university campus, walkways connecting the library to the Centre in the Square and lush landscaping.

If the Civic District Master Plan ever gets implemented it will bring more residents downtown and help lure creative class workers to the area with a cutting edge arts district.

Late next summer, construction will begin on a 400-space underground parking garage. It will be located behind the main library. Some of the surface parking will disappear and a public square will be built. Shortly after that, work begins on a 25,000-square-foot addition to the main library and a complete renovation of the existing building.

Now playing: The Radio Faces – I’m So Lucky
via FoxyTunes

May 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm 1 comment

Cambridge’s New Arts & Culture Master Plan

Soon the City of Cambridge will be implementing a new $70,000 arts and culture master plan. There is a push for both the Drayton Theatre and the Venice Biennale, as they will attract thousands of people to Cambridge, creating an economic stimulus.

Other recommendations call on the city to:

• create a new cultural managers position, with the resources to assist and mentor various groups within the arts and cultural community;

• expand the city’s arts and culture advisory committee to involve the business sector;

• undertake a review of operations at Cambridge Centre for the Arts;

• create stabilized funding for the arts;

• turn Galt core into an arts Mecca;

• develop and nurture new special events across the city;

• develop a marketing strategy.

This is all great news, and will hopefully change people’s general perception of the City towards one that is new and sophisticated with a new found passion for the arts.


May 11, 2009 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

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