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Public art exchange celebrates 50 years as twin cities

​A very special gift has been selected to recognize the 50th anniversary of the twin-city relationship between Lethbridge and Saint-Laurent, Québec. As part of a public art exchange between the two cities, Lethbridge City Council recently approved the commissioning of a unique art piece entitled coyote2coyote to be gifted to Saint-Laurent. ​

"A public art exchange is the perfect way to recognize and celebrate our longstanding friendship with Saint-Laurent," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "We are excited to send a piece of southern Alberta to Saint-Laurent as a legacy gift that will be enjoyed by residents for years to come. We also look forward to seeing the artwork that will be sent to us as a gift from our twin city."

Coyote2coyote will display two bronze coyotes set against an abstract coulee form. The coyotes are a mirror image of each other and are positioned so they are looking backwards towards the west. The artists, Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew from Vancouver, have previous experience in developing public art for Lethbridge as they created Mirrored Earth in Casa. They are well-known as site-specific artists who excel at integrating custom-made artwork into different locations.

A large public square in Saint-Laurent has been chosen as the site for the new artwork. It is a highly visible location at the end of a major train line entering Saint-Laurent from downtown Montréal.

A total of $250,000 was allocated from the City of Lethbridge's public art fund for the project which includes artist fees, shipping to Saint Laurent, and installation of the coyote2coyote art work.

In response to the gift from Lethbridge, Saint-Laurent will offer a commissioned public artwork to the City of Lethbridge for permanent installation at Henderson Lake. The concept of the Lethbridge-based artwork will be unveiled on July 14 as part of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden's 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Over the last several months, each community was required to secure funds, select and develop a site, develop and issue requests for proposals, establish a selection committee, and host site visits, selection meetings, and technical review meetings. Both pieces will be installed in the summer of 2018.

"We've worked hard to align processes in both communities," says Suzanne Lint, Chair of the Public Art Project Commissioning Committee. "This was a challenge given that there were many parallel steps to complete. In the end, our committee is pleased to recommend coyote2coyote as a timeless work of art that will appeal to a broad demographic. We are hopeful that it will become an iconic part of Saint-Laurent."

The twinning of Saint-Laurent and Lethbridge dates back to 1967 when Canada's twin city program was created as part of the 100th anniversary of Canada's confederation. The project was intended to strengthen relations between eastern and western Canada.

Saint-Laurent and Lethbridge are the only cities in Canada that are still actively pursuing their twinning. Since 1967, approximately 300 Lethbridge residents have travelled to Saint-Laurent to experience the landscape and culture of Québec. Likewise, 300 Saint-Laurent citizens have come to Lethbridge to learn about southern Alberta. ​

Media Contact:
Jillian Bracken
City of Lethbridge Public Art Committee Chair
Recreation and Culture Liaison Manager
403-320-3040
jillian.bracken@lethbridge.ca