By Schnarr, J.W. on September 5, 2018.
A new interactive public art piece could grace the Round Street Gateway as early as next summer after Lethbridge City Council voted unanimously to approve the project.
The Round Street Public Art Project has been in the works for years and, on Tuesday, council voted to move ahead with the project at a cost of $75,000.
Suzanne Lint, executive director of the Allied Arts Council, said she was pleased by council’s decision to move ahead with the project.
“We’re very happy to have council’s full support for this piece,” she said, in an interview following her presentation to council.
The installation is a series of 26 chairs arranged in a maze-like structure. It will be a 10-foot-square installation with a comparable height to an average person. The location will be at the northwest corner of 5 Street and 6 Avenue South.
The goal is to create a spot for social interaction, making it suitable for the location near the Lethbridge Multicultural Centre.
The title of the piece is “Together,” by Coryn Kempster and Julia Jamrozik. The designers have collaborated on art projects since 2003 from temporary installations to permanent public artwork and installation projects.
“The intent is to provide a piece of artwork that allows people to gather,” Lint said. “The colours were deliberately chosen in order to signify diversity. There’s a blending of colours on a variety of chairs, indicating the folks who are coming in to our community and celebrating and sharing at the multicultural centre.”
It is hoped the chairs will be used as a gathering place for people to sit, visit, to get to know each other, and to engage socially.
During discussion, Mayor Chris Spearman asked why local artists were not chosen for the project. Lint told council there are regulations against simply handing a project with this cost over to someone local without the opportunity of a bidding process open to all.
She also noted, philosophically, if Lethbridge supports its artists creating work in other places, it should be open to art from artists out of the area as well.
“I think everybody has a personal taste and aesthetic around art work,” Lint said. “I think it’s a piece that will engage the community and allow them to have a conversation But I think the interactive nature (of the piece) it will (have a warm spot in people’s hearts).”
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