I’ve walked by these tree grates probably a thousand times. I’ve looked at them and thought, “That’s interesting!” But I never thought about them as art, public or otherwise.
These tree grates on Cawston (Map) between the Kelowna Art Gallery and the Rotary Centre for the Arts were the winning design in a competition held in 2000. Crystal Przybille is the designer. She incorporates “elements representing the Okanagan.” You can see Kokanee salmon and waves in the circles closest to the trees, fruit trees in the corners, and sun at the edges.
The grates are about 4 feet by 4 feet. I like how oxidation will change the colour of the grates over time. Trees get bigger over time, too, and the inner part of the grates have been removed from around some of the trees. Good for the trees, but too bad for the “elements.” I guess that’s the downside of functional public art. There are more of these grates on Abbott Street, apparently, although I can’t remember ever having noticed them.
More about Public Art in Kelowna here. You can grab a PDF with a list and a map at that same link. “Elemental” is #10 on the list. The Kelowna Art Gallery has a wonderful exhibit called “Please Touch the Art: Art in the Public Space”. If you’re reading this before September 4, 2011, you should check it out online, or even better, in person.
Click on “Public Art” in the “What’s here” box on the right side of this page to see all the Public Art posts on the blog. I hope eventually to blog about all 59 sites.