Throughout our city, Edmontonians experience public art as part of our day-to-day lives, whether going to the library, the pool, or riding the bus. The City of Edmonton’s public art collection is integrated into our neighbourhoods as a result of the Percent for Art Policy, which is administered on behalf of the City by the Edmonton Arts Council (EAC).
In late 2019, the EAC received submissions of interest from artists across Canada in response to a call to create an artwork for Butler Memorial Park. This opportunity comes as a result of the redevelopment and enhancement of the area.
Calgary-based artists Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett have been selected for the project by a committee of artists, City staff, and community members. Brown and Garrett have already begun their work, a period of research and engagement prior to creating their concept. This focused time to learn and connect represents a shift in the EAC’s approach to public art calls.
“We’re adjusting our process to allow the artists time to be immersed in the project before they generate a concept,” says David Turnbull, Director of Public Art for the EAC. “In the past, artists have done a lot of the creative work just to apply to a call. This approach invests in the artists’ time and will lead to work that is site-based and grounded in the community.”
For Butler Park, the vision is to have artwork that is discoverable and playful, an obvious strength of Brown and Garrett’s. Their project in Edmonton’s Brewery District, CARBON COPY, was voted People’s Choice at the Edmonton Urban Design Awards in 2019, with jurors noting their innovative and playful approach.
“We’re excited to be developing a new public artwork for Butler Memorial Park,” says Brown. “As the neighbourhood changes, this public park takes on a more important role as a place between things: between transit lines, walking routes, neighbourhoods, homes, and destinations.”
Garrett notes that this time of increased isolation during the pandemic also shaped their process. “We’ve continued to think about the importance of public space to connection and community identity.”
“The new design of the Park will help make it a better place for resting, reflecting, waiting, playing, and being,” Brown adds. “We look forward to learning more about West Jasper Place as we continue developing a public artwork for your community.”
For updates about this project, and to learn more about the City of Edmonton’s Public Art Collection, visit edmontonpublicart.ca.
Article submitted by the Edmonton Arts Council.