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City inviting artists to submit public artwork proposals for theatre

By: Matt Durnan

  |  Posted: Thursday, Mar 13, 2014 10:33 am

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The City of Airdrie has attracted artists from Alberta and beyond to submit proposals for an original public art piece that will adorn the recently expanded Bert Church Theatre.

Artists from Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, the United States and even overseas in the United Kingdom and Spain have put their names forward in requests for proposals to design and fabricate a new piece of public art for the city.

While there are no limitations on where the artist resides, the public art committee in charge of choosing a winner has a distinct Airdrie interest at heart.

The committee is made up of members from SLAM (Supporting Local Area Musicians), Creative Airdrie, Airdrie Arts Society and Rotary Music Festival.

Michael McAllister, community developer with the City, says that this format has been used in the past with public art pieces such as the sphere that sits in front of City Hall and the stained glass windows in Genesis Place and that has proven to be a success.

“The City doesn’t have a public arts department so we rely a lot on our arts community,” said McAllister.

“This puts the decision back in the hands of our community members and ensures that the piece will be relevant to Airdrie.”

The City provided $50,000 in funding for this project as part of the capital cost of the Bert Church Theatre expansion. This money will be used to fund the concept, design, materials, mounting and a year of maintenance of the piece, as well as pay for the time commitment of the artist.

The intent of the competition itself is to find an artist who can create a significant piece of artwork that is relevant and meaningful to the community.

The use of reclaimed and/or sustainably resourced materials is strongly encouraged, as the City is largely guided by the AirdrieONE Sustainability Plan.

McAllister says that a decision has not yet been reached as to what medium the piece will be, or even whether it will reside inside the theatre, outside, or a combination of both.

Local artists may have a leg up when it comes to designing a piece of significance and relevance to Airdrie, but thanks to a weighted adjudication process, all those who submit proposals have an opportunity to be selected.

“We wanted to keep this competition as open as possible so that we could attract a range of artists; there are different categories that are judged by the committee such as the amount of experience someone has with public art,” said McAllister.

“For an artist who is from overseas or not from Airdrie, it’s up to them how they make the connections to the community with their proposal.”

Written requests for proposals will be accepted until April 1 and the public art committee will comb through the requests for a month afterwards and perhaps conduct interviews with the artists before a winner is chosen.

Interested artists can submit their request for proposal at the Government of Alberta’s Alberta Purchasing Connection website at http://vendor.purchasingconnection.ca and searching Bert Church Theatre.


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