The City of New Westminster’s Public Art Program has sent out another call for artists to contribute to the growing collection of public art, this time with photography-based installations. Teaming up with the Capture Photography Festival, the City will install in two locations, the first in the downtown area of New Westminster on the side of 350 Columbia Street and the second on the West wall of the Telus Mobility Store at 610 Sixth Street.
Artists and artist teams are invited to respond to the theme Traffic. Like we have nothing to say about Traffic in New Westminster, right? Artists are encouraged to submit a proposal that considers the concept of traffic and its different interpretations.
Biliana Velkova, the Arts Coordinator for the City of New Westminster says, “The theme explores the concept of traffic in a more abstract and intangible way. It could speak to vehicular traffic, yes, but it is open to ideas around digital traffic, movement of communication, internet traffic, etc.” The Public Art Advisory Committee generated this theme because of the location and purpose of the buildings where the art will be installed. The building on 6th Street belongs to TELUS, which is a signifier of communication and digital traffic, while the building on 350 Columbia looks over the Fraser River and Columbia Street, which signifies traffic of goods and people.
Two artists or artist teams will be selected for this opportunity. Each artist or artist team will receive an artist fee of $3000.00 CAD to produce one or more print-ready digital artwork files. Each will take the form of a temporary (at least a year), large-scale photo installation. This project will provide a point of access to art and photography for all members of the public—from nearby residents and commuters, to those drawn from outside the area by the local arts and culture scene.
Velkova says she is getting a great response from potential applicants – as far away as Toronto and many local artists, as well. The deadline is December 2, so there is still time. (For the full guidelines, see here. City of New Westminster staff, members of the City of New Westminster Public Art Advisory Committee and jury panel members are not eligible to apply.) The jury will be comprised of a curator from Capture, a local arts professional, a member of the Public Art Advisory Committee, a member of each the Downtown BIA and the Uptown BIA, and a public art artist.
“Public art brings an identity to a place and animates the public realm in a creative and critical way,” says Velkova. “It is a fantastic way to start to get people to pay attention to otherwise ignored spaces. It creates placemaking, makes people slow down, encourages tourism and increase of foot traffic.”