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City-owned artwork being infused in some new places

The walls of two fire halls, Beaudry Place, and the City Arts Space will soon be showcasing multiple pieces of the city's permanent art collection, some of which has rarely been displayed until now.
Preserving St. Albert's visual culture is a multi-pronged endeavour, including the maintenance of pieces like a downtown mural, which had some water damage fixed recently by conservator Andrea Bowes. CITY OF ST. ALBERT/Instagram

To promote visual culture in St. Albert, a few public facilities will be the new home for some artwork from the city's permanent art collection.

Soon to be lining the walls of two fire halls, as well as Beaudry Place, which is the home of Family and Community Support Services, will be roughly 25 pieces of artwork thanks to the city's art placement program. 

Organized by the collection manager Dani Rice and public art associate Dana Murray, the city's art placement program seeks to ensure public facilities have a comforting and lively feel.

“We place artwork from that permanent collection in city-owned public facilities and offices. The reason we do that is to make the collection accessible, so people can see it," Rice explained in an interview. The city's permanent collection includes about 300 total pieces, including paintings, drawings, photographs, and ceramics.

"We want to make sure we promote visual culture – we think that’s very important – especially with the visual arts in St. Albert.”

Many factors are considered while deciding which pieces of art are suitable for certain places, Rice said. “It’s not done in a willy-nilly matter, there’s quite a process that goes into it.”

“We’re working right now with fire halls number one and three; they’re very excited to put some artwork in their spaces," Rice said. "They’ve requested artwork that’s depicting scenes of St. Albert because they want to create a comforting atmosphere that reflects the community they serve."

Rice said there's about 10 paintings that fit the two fire halls' needs, and the firefighters will decide which ones to put on the walls.

"For Beaudry Place, it’s somewhat similar to the fire halls – they’re looking for colourful, more positive works," Rice said, adding, "some that might have a little bit more community base to them.”

“For example, I think there’s a series of photographs by Jill Watamaniuk that depict different community events and people, so we’re going to frame those up and get them in there nicely as a series.”

A third project, which has been under development since August, will showcase two series of art in the city's collection that have not been commonly displayed before at the City Arts Space in Campbell Park, Rice said. 

The City Arts Space is a rehearsal and performing arts space used by St. Albert Children's Theatre.

"One is a collection of prints and drawings and paintings that came from a Japanese exchange that happened in the 1990s," Rice said. "We’re uncovering information about that, which has been really interesting."

"We’re going to hang them as this huge series of children’s artwork right next to a smaller body of work we have that’s actually of St. Albert children from 1995 – a series of paintings that came from two schools.”

The Gazette was unable to obtain any additional information about this exchange with Japan prior to print deadline.

The archivist at the Musée Héritage Museum, Vino Vipulanantharajah, said in an email that in October of 1990, officials from the Hokkaido region of Japan visited St. Albert as part of an exchange program.

"Not sure if anything art related came about from this, but I guess it could be possible," Vipulanantharajah said.

“We’re really looking forward to having these two big displays in this area, and they’ll be floor to ceiling so little kids can see them, big kids can see them, with some didactic information about this exchange to let people know where this came from," Rice said. 

"The quality of work is awesome.”

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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