Public Art in Kelowna – Levels

Levels

Levels up close

Levels, by Judson Beaumont, is stop #1 in the Guide to Public Art brochure (PDF) published by the City of Kelowna.  I can’t, however, find it on the City website’s  Public Art Collection page.  No problem.  I was able to find it in real life, thanks to the note in the brochure, which directed me to the piece at the “Base of Knox Mountain, 50m NW of lower parking area.”

The picture in the brochure makes Levels looks like giant stone stairs.  As I pointed my scooter toward Knox Mountain, I wondered how I could have been to that park so many times and never noticed this art.  The brochure continued:

This concrete form was inspired by the popular 1970’s song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and was commissioned for the Kelowna International Festival of the Arts sculpture competition.

It was installed in 1986.

I pulled into the lower parking area, got off the scooter and headed NW.  I looked for the steps.  I kept walking…and damn near fell into the pit that is Levels.  It doesn’t go up, it goes down.

It was my visit to Levels that made me realize that I should put a tape measure in my bag.  I was looking for a huge set of stone stairs, but in reality, this is two sets of small stairs separated by two stone plank-like pieces.  A bridge.  To add perspective, I put my hat on the art and took a couple of pictures.

There’s no water, troubled or otherwise, under the little bridge, either.  And it was Levels that made me realize I should put some gloves in my bag, too.  I did a little weeding and picked up some of the garbage, but I left the small shards of glass in there.

Kelowna has at least 59 Public Art installations.  Many of them are beautiful, and most of them are at least interesting.  I’m not a fan of Levels, though.  It could benefit from a plaque that identifies it as art, or at least warns people they’re about to step in a hole.

If you go, plan on spending some time in the park.  It’s beautiful.  You can walk on the relatively flat part near the lake, or head up Knox Mountain on foot, on a bike or in a motorized vehicle to the lookout.  Stunning views.  Use the map below to get directions.  (If you zoom in far enough, you’ll get a glimpse of Levels, about 50m NW of the lower parking lot at Ellis and Broadway.)


View Larger Map

Find out more about Public Art in Kelowna here.  If you’re reading this before September 4, 2011, you still have time to get to the Please Touch the Art” exhibit at the Kelowna Art Gallery.  It’s a wonderful exhibit, and has inspired me to visit every piece of public art in Kelowna.   I’ve been more excited about the others.  Click on “Public Art” in the “What’s here” box on the right side of this page to see the other posts.

Permanent link to this article: http://cateeales.com/2011/08/18/public-art-in-kelowna-levels/

Public Art in Kelowna – Natural Language

Natural Language

Natural Language

Natural Language is Stop #12 on the Public Art in Kelowna tour.  Outside the main Library at 1380 Ellis Street is a 12-foot high stainless steel mobius form and a stainless steel spiral bench.

The mobius strip rotates!  You can walk right up to it and spin it.  Kids sit in the bottom loop and spin around until they get dizzy and fall out.

Letters and symbols from the alphabets of many languages are engraved on the mobius strip.

Birds, snakes, frogs, fish, insects, turtles, and I don’t know what all else are part of the bench.  Some are raised forms, some seem to be engraved, others are cutouts.  These are meant to represent the biological diversity of the region, according to the guide.

The artists Jennifer Macklem & Kip Jones spent almost a year creating the sculpture.  It was installed and dedicated in 2000.

You can find out more about Public Art in Kelowna here.  Grab a PDF of the brochure (featuring Bear on the front) here. I hope eventually to blog about all 59 sites.  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.

Permanent link to this article: http://cateeales.com/2011/08/14/public-art-in-kelowna-natural-language-2/

Public Art in Kelowna, BC – Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear is, I think, the newest and one of the very best pieces of public art in Kelowna.  Stop #15 on the Public Art in Kelowna tour, Bear is directly across from City Hall in Stuart Park.

Unveiled at the official opening of Stuart Park in September 2010, the sculpture is a blue powder-coated frame shaped like a grizzly bear, enclosing symbols of Kelowna.  I found fish, a bird, vines, fruit, frogs, and I’m sure there are things I haven’t even seen yet.  You can walk around right under Bear and look into the frame.  Standing close, you can clearly see the objects inside.  Standing back, you see the Bear.

Brower Hatcher created Bear, and this afternoon he gave a talk at the Kelowna Art Gallery.  He brought slides of some of his earlier works (some examples here)  and spoke about how he uses frames to define a space and objects to fill it.  Hatcher spoke for about an hour, and answered questions from the audience.  He likes his public art projects to improve a place, to engender a sense of community, and to evoke emotions.

I think he has succeeded with Bear.  It’s a beautiful sculpture.  I love going there and looking at Bear from different angles and distances.  He seems to blend into the sky sometimes and stand out clearly other times.

If you are reading this before September 4, 2011, you still have a chance to get down to the Kelowna Art Gallery and see Please Touch the Art: Art in the Public Space.  The exhibit tells the story of Bear’s creation, and shows off other examples of Public Art in Kelowna.

Last September I attended the opening of Stuart Park and Bear’s unveiling and took these photos:

You can find out more about Public Art in Kelowna here.  Grab a PDF of the brochure (featuring Bear on the front) here. I hope eventually to blog about all 59 sites.  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.

Permanent link to this article: http://cateeales.com/2011/08/11/public-art-in-kelowna-bc-bear/

Pretty Good Thunderstorm

I was at the last Falcons baseball game of the season.  The sun was shining, and then … we were in the middle of a thunderstorm.  A big honking thunderstorm.

Rain in Kelowna, BC (mp3)

Too bad the Falcons won’t have a chance to make up that game.  It was lucky I left the ball park when I did.  Now there are reports of serious flooding at an intersection I drove through on my way home.

Permanent link to this article: http://cateeales.com/2011/08/10/pretty-good-thunderstorm/

Public Art in Kelowna, BC – Pride Mural

Pride Mural

Pride Mural

Stop #26 on the Public Art in Kelowna tour is 1476 Water Street, home of the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition.

The Pride Mural, painted by local artist Scott Tobin in 2009, occupies the entire south wall of the building.  The Okanagan Rainbow Coalition posted photos of the mural being painted here.

The Coalition received a grant from the City of Kelowna Public Art Committee during Pride Week 2009, and this mural is the result.  The work is described on the City website:

This community project boldly celebrates the positive theme of unity. The imagery was developed through a series of focus groups with local gay, lesbian and gender-questioning youth.

Interestingly, the mural includes not only the six colours seen in the Rainbow Flag, but the two colours later dropped from the original version.  Each colour has a meaning: red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), blue (harmony), and purple/violet (spirit).  The mural includes the removed colours pink (sexuality) and turquoise (magic).

This stunning mural is a huge step in the right direction, away from the dark days of 1997 when then-Mayor Walter Gray refused to proclaim “Gay and Lesbian Pride Day,” instead proclaiming “Gay and Lesbian Day” because he didn’t want anyone to think he believed that being gay or lesbian was anything to be proud of.

In March, 2000, a BC Human Rights Tribunal found the action discriminatory in that proclamations are a service customarily available to the public, adding that a mayor does not have the right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.  Mayor Gray then refused to proclaim anything else, ever, for the rest of his time in office.

So, boldly celebrating the positive theme of unity is huge here in Kelowna.  I wonder if the magic had anything to do with it.

Pride week kicks off this year, complete with Proclamation (PDF), on August 8.  And as the result of the work Mayor Sharon Shepherd and City Council did on the new Flag Policy and Flag Guidelines (PDF), this year for the first time, the Rainbow Flag will fly above City Hall.

Congratulations to the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition, Scott Tobin, the Kelowna Public Art Committee, and the City officials and staff on a job well done.

Find out more about Public Art in Kelowna here.  If you’re reading this before September 4, 2011, you still have time to get to the Please Touch the Art” exhibit at the Kelowna Art Gallery.  It’s a wonderful exhibit, and has inspired me to visit every piece of public art in Kelowna. Eventually.

Permanent link to this article: http://cateeales.com/2011/08/07/public-art-in-kelowna-bc-pride-mural/