Two of the 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures on display in Oak Bay. Jelly, top right, by Nathan Smith, and Portal, bottom centre, by Heather Passmore, have been donated to Oak Bay. (District of Oak Bay Photos)

Two of the 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures on display in Oak Bay. Jelly, top right, by Nathan Smith, and Portal, bottom centre, by Heather Passmore, have been donated to Oak Bay. (District of Oak Bay Photos)

Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Two more sculptures were donated to Oak Bay this week, bringing the total to four donations so far this year.

Council accepted the pieces which are both from the 2019 ArtsAlive public art exhibition. The pieces came with a suggested location, however, council amended the recommendation and reserved the right to have the public art advisory committee help decide where they should go.

It’s part of an influx of public art in Oak Bay and brings the total number of permanent outdoor pieces to 10. That’s up from hardly any prior to 2015, said Mayor Kevin Murdoch

“It’s a fantastic problem to have,” Murdoch said.

It adds up to 20 when including the 10 annual ArtsAlive pieces on exhibit, not including the biggest mural in the region, Parade of Play, on the back of the public works building.

“[Before ArtsAlive] there was not one piece, besides the piece hanging inside the recreation centre,” said Oak Bay arts laureate Barbara Adams. “The idea was to build a legacy of public art in Oak Bay for future generations to enjoy. We had no idea in starting this that the public would really like it, and it’s been very successful.”

The donations started with an anonymous patron who was inspired by the Stanley Park mermaid. They thought the tidal rock along Beach Drive between Haynes and Queens’ Park could have something similar but with an Oak Bay twist.

That was denied last year. Since then, though, there’s been an influx of sculptures donated. So many, council has asked for a plan.

READ ALSO: Mayor’s arts fund to purchase sculpture in honour of Nils Jensen

READ MORE: Voting window for 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures nears its end

“Do we need a policy for these donations is a question that has come up,” Murdoch said. “The responsible thing is to look at every piece whether we have a policy or not, they are individual pieces.”

As Coun. Hazel Braithwaite noted, while the sculptures are built for durability, council does retain the right to remove or move the sculptures as seen fit.

The newest two pieces are Jelly, by Nathan Smith, which was exhibited at Oak Bay Village at Hampshire Road, and Portal, by Heather Passmore, which was at Willows Beach. These are in addition to the recent donation of the 25,000-pound marble sculpture Soul of a Wolf (inspired by Takaya) to be installed at Cattle Point (pending final details). Earlier this year the Winds of Time, a 2019 ArtsAlive sculpture, was accepted as an anonymous donation to go into King George Terrace.

But it’s not just the donations that are popping up. In 2019, to the ‘M’akhotso sculpture (Mother of Peace), a 2018 ArtsAlive sculpture by Linda Lindsay, that was purchased to permanently honour the late Nils Jensen at Monterey Recreation after his 2019 death.

Plus, there are the first five people’s choice winners of the annual ArtsAlive exhibition which are purchased by the district. The latest is the 2019 winner Harmony Humpback, installed on the sidewalk of Beach Drive at the parking lot entrance to Willows Park.

“When we started this about eight years ago, we had 28 locations identified, in principal, as locations for permanent art,” Adams said. “But we needed public input. The public needs to own this. That’s been a big part of it.”

READ ALSO: Winds of Time breezes onto Oak Bay lookout

It’s only speculation, but as council deliberated on Monday night, there is a question as to how many pieces are appropriate for McNeill Bay or Willows Beach. It was suggested in the council report that Portal be installed on Willows again, this time further along the Esplanade closer to Cattle Point.

These final two months of 2020 are Adams’ last as Oak Bay’s first arts laureate. The district will put out a call for a new arts laureate soon. It’s a volunteer position that can sometimes feel like a job, a worthy passion project, Adams said.

One thing Adams’ would like to see ArtsAlive tackle that it hasn’t is the addition of some performance spaces.

“Creating some performance spaces was part of the vision from the beginning,” Adams said. “We have had to put it on the back burner to focus on other things.”

Adams envisioned a circular bench area near a sculpture that people could sit at while musicians performed. It’s a vision shared with the mayor.

“I would like to see [dedicated] public space for performing arts,” Murdoch said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

oak bay

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Darrel McLeod won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2018 for his first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. His newly-released memoir, Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, follows as a sequel. (Black Press Media file)
Critically acclaimed Sooke author releases new memoir

Peyakow follows as a sequel to Darrel McLeod’s first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age

Downed trees account for the majority of power outages, according to BC Hydro, which plans to spend more money on tree pruning and hazardous tree removal in coming years in the face of changing weather and growing patterns caused by climate change. (Photo courtesy of the City of Langford)
BC Hydro says safety guides tree removal policy

Crown corporation says it will work with property owners wherever possible

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amount from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Most Read