Public Art Program

Region of Waterloo Public Art Program

The Region of Waterloo Public Art Program (and Public Art Policy) was approved in 2002 following discussions during the construction of several major Regional buildings. Regional Council agreed that public art enhances the positive perception of a community and raises its cultural profile.

A Public Art Reserve Fund was created. Money is allocated annually at the discretion of Regional Council. There is also a budgeted allocation from designated capital projects.

Public art considered for purchase and display must meet these criteria:

  • aesthetic, historic or commemorative objects
  • high quality and unique
  • paintings, sketches, drawings, photographs, sculptures, carvings, metalwork, murals, crests, quilts, tapestries, special architectural and landscaping features

Note: Public art does not include plaques, or museum or archival collections which may be displayed in public places from time to time.

Public Art Advisory Committee

The Region's Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) was established in 2002 to administer the Region's Public Art Program. Information on PAAC membership and Committee's agendas and minutes are available online.

Current Projects

ION Public Art Project

The Region of Waterloo's latest public art projects will give the community a chance to help create unique and creative spaces along the ION route. Please visit or for information on the ION rapid transit project.

The public artworks are being selected using a two stage juried process. In the fall of 2015, the Region undertook a broad community consultation process which provided a foundation for the Call to Artists which was issued in early 2016. In response to the Call, the Region received over 60 proposals from over 40 artists. The jury met in July and, with input from community stakeholders and Regional staff, shortlisted 15 proposals to move on to the second stage of the selection process.collage of shortlisted artworks

Have your say on the shortlisted proposals

The Region has now received the Stage 2 Detailed Proposals and is undertaking a second broad community consultation on the shortlisted artworks.  Members of the public are encouraged to view and comment on the proposed artworks from November 21 to December 9, 2016 by visiting:

  • Regional Administrative Headquarters, 150 Frederick St., Kitchener (open Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) and/or
  • the online survey

The public is also invited to attend artist presentations to the jury on Monday, December 5, 2016. Contact for more details. The artwork selection process will conclude with the jury making a recommendation to Regional Council in January 2017 on the artworks to be commissioned.

The shortlisted artworks are listed below with the ION stops they are being considered for. Click on the artwork name to read about and view images of the artwork.

Bessai, Tom - Arch, Loop, Whorl

  • Grand River Hospital

Cruise, Stephen - Shaping Residency

  • Kitchener Market
  • Fairway

Dam de Nogales, Veronica & Edwin - Because Cats Can't Fly

  • Mill
  • Block Line

Dunn, Sandra - Benchwork (The Spine)

  • Grand River Hospital

Enns, Jonathan - Digital Sun

  • Research and Technology
  • Fairway

Hall, Ken - Network

  • Research and Technology

Harvey, Katharine - Three Sisters: Connection Between Land and Community

  • Grand River Hospital
  • Block Line

Judge, Lauren - Arras

  • Fairway

O'Neill, Terry - The Tall Tales of Mill St.

  • Mill

Otasevic, Lilly - Fabric of Place

  • Conestoga
  • Grand River Hospital
  • Block Line

Otasevic, Lilly - Lucent Observatory

  • Research and Technology

Paleczny, Catherine - Continuum

  • Conestoga

Poussin, Pierre - L'EAU

  • Research and Technology
  • Kitchener Market

Rojas, Pamela - We Belong

  • Kitchener Market
  • Mill

Vickerd, Brandon - The Passenger

  • Block Line
  • Fairway


To support the artwork commissioning process, in the fall of 2015, the Region did broad public consultation, asking:

  • What do you think are the qualities of successful public?
  • What is important to you about each future artwork location?

This is what we heard:

This public input will help to shape the theme and form of the seven public artworks. In addition, a document containing Community Based Background Information has been compiled for each of the seven ION LRT stops selected as artwork locations.

If there is additional information you would like added to the consultation summary, and/or if you would like to be added to the Region of Waterloo Public Art contact list, email your request to Kate Hagerman at

Cambridge Centre Transit Terminal Public Art 

Pin Art concept drawingOn March 22, 2016, Regional Council approved the commissioning of Pin Art by Ken Hall for the Cambridge Centre Transit Terminal (381 Hespeler Road, Cambridge). This artwork will add pleasure and interest to the transit rider experience, and will enhance the character of the public space.

As explained by artist Ken Hall, "Pin Art invites transit users and members of the community to interact with their environment and to communicate with each other through creative self expression. Part retro-nostalgia, and part celebration of the technical innovation that abounds in Waterloo Region, Pin Art is fully accessible to all ages and abilities, and is a great way for the community to experience art through the universal medium of play, providing positive community engagement." Pin Art will be commissioned and incorporated into the terminal as part of the ongoing construction project.

A public art project is also being planned for the Ainslie Street transit terminal. More details will follow once they are available.

Former County Courthouse Public Art

PastPresentFuture.pngOn Sept. 30, 2014, Council approved the commissioning of Past|Present|Future by Ernest Daetwyler for installation at the Former County Courthouse, 20 Weber St., Kitchener. The proposed artwork is a series of seven spheres of different materials relating to evolution and the passage of time. The piece makes a strong artistic statement in line with the project theme, which is evolution of the site and of Regional government and complements the site including the historically significant courthouse building and adjacent Governor's House and Gaol. People will be encouraged to visit the site to both engage with the artwork and to enjoy the public space. The artwork will be located on the Queen Street side of the property adjacent to the Ontario Heritage Trust historic plaques, and be installed in 2016.  

How Public Art is Selected

The Public Art Advisory Committee appoints a jury to solicit proposals from the art community for a particular Regional site. Jury members, keeping in mind the unique characteristics of that site, judge submissions, choose the most appropriate and recommend it to the advisory committee.

The advisory committee, in turn, recommends an allocation of money from the Region's Public Art Reserve Fund for the art. The final decision is made by Regional Council.

The Public Art Advisory Committee comprises:

  • One (or two) Regional Councillors
  • Four community representatives representing the arts, education and the general public
  • A Community Service's Division representative
  • A Facilities Management Division representative

Maintenance of public artwork is financed by the facility where it is displayed. One-time costs for restoration or refurbishment of artwork are covered by the Public Art Reserve Fund.

Public Art on Display

Discover Extraordinary Spaces, a series of brochures that outline public art and locations across Waterloo Region:

The map below shows where Region of Waterloo public artwork is located. You can also view this information in the Regional public art summary (PDF)

View Region of Waterloo Public Art in a larger map


Online Interactive Public Art

The solar Collector public art installation celebrates the Region's commitment to energy efficiency. The sculpture contains 12 shimmering metal shafts that rise from different angles on the grassy hill in front of the Region's Operations Centre. The solar-powered and interactive installation gathers energy from the sun during the day to light up at night. Members of the public can view and even choreograph nightly light performances online at


For more information, contact:

Kate Hagerman, Cultural Heritage Specialist
telephone:  519-575-4094
fax:  519-575-4449