Newly installed statues suddenly removed

Many of those who’ve passed through the intersection of Princess and Division Streets in downtown Kingston may have noticed two very different characters – a pigeon and a squirrel, specifically – taking a ‘stroll’ down Princess Street.

Or, at least, they would have for nearly two weeks.

That’s more time than the statues stood on the sidewalks of Princess Street.

The latest City of Kingston public art installation, The Wilds of Kingston, was unveiled as part of The Hub Project on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. The work is that of Hamilton-based artist Brandon Vickerd, a Professor of Sculpture at York University, and depict regular ‘people’ until closer inspection, which reveals both a pigeon- and a squirrel-headed human-like figure, dressed in the type of attire often seen on those walking along Princess Street in The Hub.

Photos of the sculptures began to flood social media after their installation, speaking to the goal of The Hub Project: “animating the intersection of Princess and Division Streets and connecting the adjacent neighbourhoods in new and creative ways.”

However, area residents began to wonder if the sculptures had been stolen – or perhaps they’d flown and scurried away – when the installation suddenly disappeared from the area.

“I am happy to say the statues were not stolen,” Bob Giarda, a Communications Officer with the City of Kingston, said in an email.

The Wilds of Kingston by Brandon Vickerd, a new sculptural public artwork for the intersection of Princess and Division Street, has been temporarily deinstalled by the City of Kingston for the 2021-2022 winter season. This is due to cold weather temperatures that impacted the long-term stability of the installation,” the City of Kingston’s Public Art Department said.

“We look forward to bringing the artworks out of hibernation in spring 2022 for permanent reinstallation.”

The Hub Project, which is part of the larger, provincially-funded Main Street Revitalization Project, began in Kingston in February of 2018. The Wilds of Kingston was one of three large-scale City of Kingston permanent public art installations of 2021 as part of the Public Art Program.

This most recent project is the City’s third large-scale permanent public art installation in 2021 as part of the Public Art Program, the first being Horse and Cart, which is installed at Victoria Park and was the first large-scale art installation in the City in approximately 40 years. The second public art installation to be unveiled in Kingston in 2021 was Manidoo Ogitigan, or ‘Spirit Garden’ at Lake Ontario Park.

According to the City of Kingston, The Wilds of Kingston was selected through an open call for submissions process by a jury made up of professional artists and curators, as well as local area businesses and student representation based on interests in the site of the public artwork. The project involved public consultation and residents’ input throughout the design process, and had a total cost of $125,000 +HST, including the artist fee, fabrication, and installation costs.

For more information on the City’s public art installation coverage from Kingstonist, click here. For more information on The Wilds of Kingston installation from the City of Kingston, including further information on the artist, click here.

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