The debut of Chilliwack’s first major piece of public art is one step closer.
Council was set to vote this week on the art that will eventually grace the Evans Road roundabout.
The Public Art Advisory Committee shortlisted three project proposals from the total of 10 projects that moved forward in the RFP process after meeting technical requirements.
The three top-ranked pieces were Giant Flowers (Ronald Simmer), The Field of Hearts (Mori Kono/MK Carving and Sculpting), Sturgeon Gate (Slipper Liu Studio).
“It was really close,” said Sue Attrill, chair of the public art advisory committee.
“All three are truly great in their own way, so whatever we end up with ultimately will be groundbreaking for us.”
Council was slated to consider the staff recommendation, which was to accept the artwork proposal by Ronald Simmer as lead proponent, for his Giant Flowers artwork, valued at $44,650 before taxes.
“It remains to be seen what the final decision of council will be,” said Coun. Attrill before the council meeting. “In the end, in terms of art, some will love it, and some won’t. There are a lot of opinions out there.”
One myth the councillor took on was the suggestion by some that artwork install in the middle of the Evans roundabout would be a distraction for drivers.
“It actually increases safety as we’ve learned, and from that perspective, the whole project makes good sense. Public art placed in roundabouts are part of best practices around the world.”
Being able to look across the roundabout is not optimal. Looking left and watching for oncoming traffic to yield to is.
The public art committee, with its members chosen for their expertise and experience in the arts and culture sector, reviewed the successful submissions this week, considering their aesthetic value, while taking into consideration the scale and visual impact of each piece.
The committee is an extension of the Chilliwack Public Art Policy, adopted by council in 2014 to “promote and facilitate the integration of public art” across Chilliwack. Installation and project completion is expected by early fall 2017.