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.

Public art considered for purchase and display:

  • is responsive and embraces a variety of approaches, mediums, scales and voices;

  • articulates the Region’s evolving identity by telling our stories and creating interruptions that open our eyes to new possibilities;
  • actively promotes the role of art and artists in our community, by increasing the engagement, accessibility,  and visibility of public art to all citizens

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

How public art is selected and funded

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 artwork and recommend it to the advisory committee.

The advisory committee then recommends a payment from the Region's Public Art Reserve Fund for the art. The final decision is made by Regional Council. Some capital projects also have budgets for public art.

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

 Public Art Advisory Committee

The Region's Public Art Advisory Committee was established to administer the Region's Public Art Program.

The Public Art Advisory Committee comprises:

  • One or two Regional Councillors
  • Six community members representing the arts, education and the general public
  • A Cultural Services division representative
  • A Facilities Management division representative

Information on committee membership, agendas and minutes are available on the Committees page.

Public art on display

The map below shows where Region of Waterloo public artwork is located. 

Extraordinary Spaces is a series of brochures produced in 2011, in partnership with Area Municipalities, that outline public art across Waterloo Region. These public art tours will take you through Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo. To request an alternate format of these documents, call 519-575-4400 or for deaf and hard of hearing (TTY): 519-575-4608.

For up to date information on the public art collections and cultural activities of Area Municipalities, visit the following websites for the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, and the townships of North Dumfries, Wellesley, Wilmot, Woolwich.

ION public art

Dotted along the ION corridor, the collection of ION public art enhances the transit experience, while improving the cultural components of our community. 

Input through a series of public consultations was key in the selection process of the 10 art installations, with an aim to express and reflect Waterloo Region's unique identity.

We invite the community to explore the collection of public art along the corridor using the ION public art passport. ION public art can be found at the following transit stations:

GRT Cambridge Centre terminal: "Pin Art" by Ken Hall 

Fairway Station: "Arras" by Elana Zur and Lauren Judge

Fairway Station: "Shaping Residency" by Stephen Cruise

Block Line station: "Three Sisters" by Lindsey Lickers

Mill Street Station: "Tall Tales of Mill Street" by Tara Cooper and Terry O'Neill

Kitchener Market Station: "Because Cats Can't Fly" by Edwin and Veronica Dam De Nogales

Grand River Hospital Station: "Spinal Column" by Sandra Dunn 

Research and Technology Station: "The Passenger" by Brandon Vickerd 

Pedestrian Barrier Enhancement, near the WPL McCormick Branch: "Fabric of Place" by Lilly Otasevic    

Conestoga Station: "Continuum" by Catherine Paleczny 

Temporary Public Art Projects

In 2023, the Region's Public Art Program unveiled a two-year art loan project. After a public call for submissions and a jurying process, the following works created by local artists were installed at the Region of Waterloo International Airport:

  • Memory and the Temporal Exchange, 2017, acrylic on canvas, by James Nye and Amber Pacheco installed in the Domestic Arrivals Building
  • Crossing with the Light, 2019; Pedestrian Crossing #1, 2015; Otherwise Occupied, 2019, oil on canvas, by Sherry Czekus installed in the Departure Lounge
  • The Wall of Nightmares and Dreams, 2010, by Ernest Daetwyler installed in the Departure Lounge

The Region looks forward to continuing this program with new artwork by local professional artists rotating every two years. Learn more about the airport installations by visiting the Art at YKF webpage.  

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