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.
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 regionofwaterloo.ca/rapidtransit or rideion.ca for information on the ION rapid transit project.
The Region is commissioning seven new works of public art at the Conestoga, Research and Technology, Grand River Hospital, Kitchener Market, Mill, Block Line and Fairway ION Light Rail Transit (LRT) stops. Each artwork will be an opportunity to reflect the identity of its neighbourhood, create an interesting public space, and enhance the transit rider experience. A Call to Artists (P2016-20) was issued and closed on June 15, 2016. The Region received over 60 proposals from over 40 artists.
The following 15 proposals have been shortlisted to go on to Stage 2 of the artwork selection process:
- Bessai, Tom - Arch, Loop, Whorl
- Cruise, Stephen - 2 Birds
- Dam de Nogales, Veronica & Edwin - Because Cats Can't Fly
- Dunn, Sandra - Benchwork (The Spine)
- Enns, Jonathan - Digital Sun
- Hall, Ken - Network
- Harvey, Katharine - Un-named
- Judge, Lauren - Arras
- O'Neill, Terry - The Tall Tales of Mill St.
- Otasevic, Lilly - Fabric of Place
- Otasevic, Lilly - Lucent Observatory
- Paleczny, Catherine - Continuum
- Poussin, Pierre - Convergence
- Rojas, Pamela - We Belong
- Vickerd, Brandon - The Passenger
Stage 2 proposals will be submitted by mid-Novermber. Once the Stage 2 proposals are received, the Region is planning a media release and a broad public consultation process on the shortlisted proposals. Artists presentations and the second jury meeting will take place in early December.
The artwork selection process will result in a report to Council, planned for January 2017, on the jury's recommendations for up to seven artworks to be commisioned for the ION project.
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 email@example.com.
Cambridge Centre Transit Terminal Public Art
On 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
On 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 solarcollector.ca.
For more information, contact:
Kate Hagerman, Cultural Heritage Specialist