What about Public Art?
We have a lot of public art in Kelowna. I think that is great! On the surface it shows that Kelowna is a cultural town, we care about visual art, we care about supporting artists, we care about presenting work that interacts with Joe Public.
Here is a listing of our current Public Art and the various locations: http://www.kelowna.ca/CM/Page264.aspx Most of it is in downtown, understandably – this is where many of the tourists congregate and wander. It is nice to see though that other areas in the city have attention given to them too.
One thing I wish was different though, is that the public art calls were separated into two distinct types:
a. there are public art calls celebrating the local identity and represent local inhabitants (whether animal vegetable or mineral)
b. there are public art calls celebrating all else.
It is my opinion that the first type of calls should be gathered from local artists – artists from the area – whether that area is defined as being “the city” or “the region” or “the province” or “the country” depends on what is being requested. I do question how an artist from south Florida (for example – and to be clear there is no artist from South Florida represented as far as I know) – anyway, how an artist from South Florida could hope to comprehend the unique nature of our identity, if the call is for a site specific work. These sorts of calls should be sent to those who have lived and experienced where the art will be. I call that being authentic to the work.
Now I know that there are some artists who are local who are upset with never being given a project or seldom being given a project even though they have applied many times – I have no comment on that. There are some who say that Kelowna tries too hard in the public art department, looking for “names” to be in their collection, rather than concentrating on supporting local artists. And lastly, there are some artists who say that the local Public Art Committee do not take the local artists very seriously. Surely City Hall must be aware of these opinions, from artists, local or not, and from Joe Public. Personally, I say that the defining requirements for any calls regarding work that exhibits or embodies local identity, maintain the integrity of that local identity and being open to local artists, however the word local is defined. That part just seems a no-brainer to me.
Just another ramble.