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New art installation and ‘Arts Walk’ part of City’s Public Art Program

Brandon Vickerd – The Wilds of Kingston. Image via the City of Kingston.

The City of Kingston is continuing their efforts to expand public art experiences around the city. Their current projects will expand on art experiences that already exist and create a “summer of public art” while people are outside more often.

“These efforts signal a commitment to art in the public realm, celebrate the City’s public art collection and the artists behind it, and continue to create opportunities for the public to connect and engage with public art,” said Colin Wiginton, Director, Arts & Culture Services. 

The city released details on these projects in a media release dated Monday, Jul. 12, 2021:

Artist selected for the HUB Project 

Contemporary Canadian artist Brandon Vickerd has been selected to create the permanent public art installation “The Wilds of Kingston” as part of the HUB Project, animating the intersection of Princess and Division Streets and connecting the adjacent neighbourhoods in new and creative ways.  

Brandon Vickerd and “The Wilds of Kingston” was selected through a multistage process involving a jury made up of local professional artists, curators, and community members. The process began with a national call for submissions through which 16 submissions were received. The Jury shortlisted three artists and Kingston residents were invited to participate in a three-week online consultation process in January 2021 to offer input to help the shortlisted artists finalize their proposals. The city said Vickerd’s final proposal responded well to the project goals and includes a two-part bronze installation that is surprising, approachable and appropriate to its location.  

“Brandon Vickerd’s dynamic and playful public art piece will create an intimate sense of discovery in downtown Kingston and shift the perspective of the urban cityscape as pedestrians navigate the sidewalk space along Princess Street,” says Danika Lochhead, Manager, Arts and Sector Development. “The artwork aims to celebrate the social scene and energy of ‘the Hub,’ creating a lasting landmark and adding a new character to the area.”  

Vickerd is a Hamilton-based artist and Professor of Sculpture at York University, where he also serves as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and Art History. His public artworks are exhibited across Canada in Ottawa, Calgary, Waterloo, Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Edmonton.

This permanent artwork is scheduled to be complete by fall 2021. The $125,000 project is funded by the Main Street Revitalization Initiative and the City of Kingston, according to the release.

Rendering of “Wilds of Kingston” as it will look installed in the Hub. Image provided by the City of Kingston.

“The Wilds of Kingston” by Vickerd will be the City’s third, permanent public art installation in 2021. “Horse and Cart” by Nicholas Crombach (Victoria Park) and “Manidoo Ogitigan” (“Spirit Garden/Jardin spirituel”) by Terence Radford (Lake Ontario Park) were completed in June.  

Arts Walk: Explore Public Art in Kingston  

As part of Love Kingston Marketplace 2021, the City of Kingston launched the Arts Walk to encourage residents to get outside and experience a combination of new and existing public artworks, both temporary and permanent, according to the release. 

The Arts Walk is a self-guided public art tour across the city that can be accessed online or by mobile phone. Printed Arts Walk postcards can also be picked up at various locations including City Hall. Most of the Arts Walk can be accessed by foot in and around the downtown core with additional public art installations accessible by bicycle, car and public transportation, the city said. The emphasis is on City-owned and/or managed public art installations found along the Kingston waterfront (Lake Ontario Park to Douglas Fluhrer Park) and including installations in Williamsville (Victoria Park) and in suburban areas (INVISTA Centre and YGK Airport). 

The creation of the Arts Walk is a Strategic Priority of Kingston City Council that is meant to foster healthy citizens and vibrant spaces, according to the release. The Arts Walk is also being planned as a multiphase project that will continue to expand over time in ways that keep people exploring Kingston and discovering the many ways in which artists enliven the city and make it a unique place to live, visit and enjoy, the city said. 

‘Summer of Public Art’ 

The City of Kingston’s Public Art Program continues to build momentum and, this summer, there are multiple temporary public art projects that can be experienced and enjoyed throughout the city featuring the work of local and national artists.   

  • Paved Paradise 2021, an outdoor public art platform of seven pedestrian-level billboards located on the north side of Brock Street at Ontario Street. The 2021 artist is Floriana Ehninger-Cuervo with her exhibit, “Inside” (June-November).  
  • Grand OnStage presents “The Woman in White” at the Grand Theatre (218 Princess Street), an augmented reality photo exhibit by Roshanak Jaberi, an Iranian-born Canadian artist based in Toronto (June-November).  
  • #WhereFromHere, a city-wide public art project through which local artists reflect on and capture life during COVID-19 and beyond (July-October).  
  • Billboard Poetry Project, a platform at Princess and Division Street for rotating poetry public art installations created by Kingston-based poets (January-September). 

More information on the Public Art program and exhibits can be found at https://www.cityofkingston.ca/explore/culture-history/arts/public-art/.  

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