Beautiful Spaces: Calgary’s push to create vibrant spaces through public art

Beautiful Spaces: Calgary’s push to create vibrant spaces through public art on Where Rockies

Damian Lamartine

Culture on Where Calgary Online

With its deep roots in agriculture and as the executive headquarters of the oil and gas industry, Calgary can present a cold, industrial exterior. Sprinkled throughout the city are moments of vibrant light, connecting visitors and locals alike to beautiful displays of creativity. The City of Calgary is currently home to over 1300 works of public art, a combination of large commissioned pieces, seasonal popups, and neighbourhood mural projects. The city is also making an effort to reconnect with its roots by promoting Indigenous artists to tell their stories through publicly accessible art pieces.

So take a moment as you explore the city to take in these places of creativity and feel the stories each piece has to tell.

 

Calgary Public Art Convergence by Damian Lamartine

Damian Lamartine

Convergence

Artists: Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan

Location: Rocky Ridge Recreation Facility

Designed to respond to the natural environment, the two statues interact with the changing light and with each other, depending on the visitor’s viewpoint. The natural angles and forms were inspired by flocks of birds, the movement of herds, the curves of Chinook clouds, and the natural elements of nature like horns, nests, and dens.

 

 

Calgary Public Art Chinook Arc by Rory Carroll

Rory Carroll

Chinook Arc

Artists: Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock

Location: Barb Scott Park

A true community project, Chinook Arc was created through collaboration between the artists, an external company specializing in interactive art experiences, and the Beltline community. The unique shape represents both past and present, bringing together memories of the streetcar loop around the community as well as the Chinook arc that blankets the sky. The sculpture emits a soft glow, and the interactive piece lights up even the darkest of days.

 

 

Calgary Public Art Sentinels Damian Lamartine

Damian Lamartine

Hawk Hill Calgary Sentinels

Artist: Beverly Pepper

Location: Ralph Klein Park

The towering sculpture is “an entrance that people are invited to walk through and experience,” says artist Beverly Pepper. “I wanted something that was inviting, but also something that reflected this area.” The entire piece was designed to work with the landscape and provide a unique experience with each and every visit. As an added surprise, the third sculpture – the smaller, central one – has shown viewers it “has a voice of its own” as it “speaks” when the wind passes through.

 

 

Calgary Public Art Women Are Persons Damian Lamartine

Damian Lamartine

Women are Persons!

Artist: Barbara Paterson

Location: Olympic Plaza

This statue marks an integral moment in history. The Famous Five: Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parlby, are depicted celebrating their victory that secured the right for women to be considered fully legal “persons” in Canada in 1929, paving the way for the first woman senator a year later. The interactive piece of public art invites visitors to interact with the women, celebrate their victory, and join them to “make the best possible contribution” to the generation in which we are living.

 

 

Wonderland Statue by Damian Lamartine

Damian Lamartine

Wonderland

Artist: Jaume Plensa

Location: Downtown outside the Bow Building

This commissioned sculpture is a popular attraction in downtown Calgary, and it is a favourite spot for photo ops. The large statue of a girl’s head represents the youthful and vibrant city of Calgary, and the interactive nature of the piece allows people to see it from all angles. Walk inside the piece to get an insider’s perspective of downtown or stand back and admire the work as a whole.

 

 

Murals in Beltline

Photo provided by BUMP

Beltline Urban Mural Project

Artist: Various

Location: Beltline Neighbourhood

In an effort to brighten the community through artwork that’s accessible to everyone, the Beltline Urban Mural Project (BELT) began in 2017 and has continued to thrive in the urban community. Artists from across the country and around the world have contributed to brighten the spaces, and the annual summer festival highlights the creativity in this neighbourhood.

 

 

Calgary Public Art Kawa’pomahkaiks Damian Lamartine

Damian Lamartine

Kawa’pomahkaiks

Artist: Adrian Stimson

Location: International Avenue Public Art Project

Part of the Siksika Nation, artist Adrian Stimson showcases Kawa’pomahkaik, translated as Animals That Roam the Prairie, as homage to the animals who used to roam the landscape. Each animal is labeled in both English and Blackfoot, and links provide audio assistance to hear the Indigenous words.

For a full map of public art locations in Calgary, visit calgary.ca.

Kate Barker