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City seeks input on artists’ proposals for Princess Street Sidewalk Project

The City is seeking public input on three public art proposals for the Princess Street Sidewalk Project, a permanent public artwork to be installed in Kingston’s Hub area at the intersection of Princess and Division streets.  

Through a Request for Supplier Qualifications (RFSQ) process, three artists – Christine Dewancker, Don Maynard, and Brandon Vickerd – have been shortlisted by a jury of artists, curators, residents and local businesses to submit proposals for this project, the City of Kingston said in a release dated Monday, Jan. 18, 2021.

Feedback on the artists’ proposals can be provided from Monday, Jan. 18 to Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 through the City’s Get Involved platform. According to the release, the input will be given to the artists who will consider it as they prepare their final proposals. Their concept statements are below.  

For the project, the proposed artworks must consider the area’s history and architecture (including the origin story of Princess Towers) and reflect the energy of the dynamic social scene for which “The Hub” is known, the City said in the release. The artists must also respond to community feedback generated through The Hub Project engagement in 2019.   

The final proposals will be submitted by the artists in March 2021. According to the release, the jury will then review and select one project based on artwork acquisition criteria. This process follows the Public Art Policy approved by Council and the final selected artwork will be installed by September 2021.

Shortlisted Artists’ Concept Statements 

Clinamina Towers by Christine Dewancker: takes its formal cue from the Brutalist architecture of Princess Towers, emphasizing the geometric linear contours and minimal construction materials that exemplify this movement. The steel plates and central column of the sculpture will slowly rust over time, creating a natural patina and marking the structure’s slow adaptation to environmental conditions. The raised central concrete form at the front of the sculpture will function as a seat for pedestrians along Princess Street, creating a piece of urban furniture along the downtown corridor. Since Princess Street runs West to East, the shadows cast from the steel plates will also change over time, moving during the day with the course of the sun, revealing certain messages and marking the passage of time.  

Murmurations by Don Maynard: like murmurations of birds, students arrive in Kingston in the fall. They take on the challenge of learning and creating, they stretch their wings and explore the city, forming connections and building community. The sculptural concept, Murmurations, quite literally mirrors these changes and activities that occur at the Hub: the comings and goings of students, the local pedestrian traffic, passing cars, the sky and clouds; all of these are reflected in the sculpture’s highly polished mirrored stainless-steel surface. These reflections call to mind nearby Lake Ontario, conjuring images of light reflecting on moving water. 

The Wilds of Kingston by Brandon Vickerd: will consist of two bronze figures that appear to be citizens leisurely going about their day; however, upon inspection the figures will reveal themselves to be extraordinary characters with the heads of a pigeon and a squirrel. Humorously referencing cartoon clichés, this installation invites a thoughtful reflection on our relationship to nature and the urban environment. The Wilds of Kingston will consider and respond to the area’s counterculture history… and reflect the energy of the dynamic social scene for which “The Hub” is known by turning the mundane into a moment of unexpected humour. The two figures, dressed in casual clothes such as jeans and hooded sweaters, could be people waiting for friends until the viewer gets close enough to experience the surprise of the full-sized sculptures. 

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