City as Site: Public Art in Richmond is the first exhibition to highlight the City of Richmond’s Public Art Program, initiated in 1997 “to create a public art collection of the highest quality through a fair and open selection process advised by independent arms-length panels of art and design professionals and community input”. Curated by Richmond Art Gallery Director Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, the exhibition will feature several diverse public art projects representing the different ways public art is funded in Richmond – through civic funding, private development, community projects, and the program’s newer series of temporary projects and socially engaged artist performances. The goal of the exhibition is to reveal the mysteries of the public art process, its role in cultural planning strategy, the possibilities it offers for community participation and its value to the community.
The exhibition includes elements from Glen Anderson’s , Child of the Fraser (2012), aluminum sculptures and a ceramic mosaic at the City’s Community Safety Building; Nicole Dextras’s StoreFront: objects of desire (2013), a temporary project for the “Art in Unexpected Places” program, in which artists were invited to select an unusual or unconventional location for their project; Janet Echelman’s Water Sky Garden (2009), a major work commissioned at the time of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games; two projects by Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew, Stillness and Motion (2013), a pedestrian bridge with photographic and video images at a private development, and Made in China (2013), five aluminum dragons located on walls outside a residential tower; and Carlyn Yandle’s Crossover (2011), a pedestrian crosswalk design in the pavement of an intersection in Steveston, as well as a reference to Yandle’s new temporary artwork Cluster that will be installed on a plinth at the end of the Canada Line. In addition to including models, drawings, videos, large-scale photographs, and related information about the artists and their work, the exhibition will visually document many additional works of public art in the City.
Glen Andersen is a Richmond-based artist specializing in public and community art with a focus on plaza design/embellishment and park enhancement, typically using the ancient methods of mosaics, in tile and pebble. Nicole Dextras, a graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, is an environmental artist based in Vancouver working in a multitude of media including sculpture, interactive public installation and photography. American artist Janet Echelman builds sculptural environments that respond to the forces of nature - wind, water and light - and become inviting focal points for civic life. She is a graduate of Harvard College, has completed public art works all over the world and has received many awards and fellowships, among them a Fulbright and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew (Muse Atelier) are Vancouver-based visual artists who started working collaboratively in 1997. Their practice is centred on the public realm, an exploration of place, perception and culture, and they have completed many permanent public art works in Canada and the United States. Carlyn Yandle earned her BFA at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2010 with an emphasis on painting and sculpture after working for 17 years as an award-winning reporter, editor and columnist for various Canadian newspapers, including the Richmond Review. Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, exhibition curator, is Director of the Richmond Art Gallery and a curator, writer, and former Chair of Vancouver’s Public Art Committee.
The opening reception will be held on Friday, September 5, from 7:00 to 9:00pm. The exhibition continues through October 26, 2014.