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Public Art FAQs

​How can a local artist get involved with Public Art?

The City of Lethbridge has a Public Art Small Projects Program that is designed to provide Lethbridge and area artists, and local not-for-profit organizations with opportunities to develop and execute innovative public art projects that will engage, enhance, and inform our community. A call for new Public Art Small Projects is released every two years or once all projects funded in a previous cycle are completed—whichever comes first. Check out the Public Art Small Projects section of the Public Art page for more information about this program.

 

Why doesn't the City hire local artists for all Public Art projects?

The City is bound by certain public sector trade agreements for high-budget Public Art projects. In accordance with these trade agreements, the City cannot limit a request for proposals for a piece of Public Art to only local artists. While these trade agreements mean that Lethbridge cannot directly award to local artists all of our contracts for high-budget Public Art projects, it also ensures that other municipalities (who adhere to the same trade agreements) must make their opportunities open and available to all artists. This means that our local artists, while not receiving preferential treatment for Lethbridge projects, benefit from being able to compete for projects in Lethbridge and across the country.

One other important thing to consider is that Public Art projects are highly specialized. For example, the piece being installed in ATB Centre's Aquatics Centre requires the use of industrial-grade materials that can withstand the humidity/chlorine present in a pool environment. There are very few local artists who have the experience necessary to successfully execute highly specialized Public Art projects. We are working to help our local artists become more experienced. Our Public Art Small Projects program is designed to give local artists opportunities to gain experience with Public Art so that they can compete for larger opportunities, should they so desire. We currently have several local artists working to install small Public Art projects in our community.

 

Why can a Public Art project budget be so high? $100,000 seems like a lot of money for a piece of art!

Most high-budget Public Art projects are large-scale pieces of art. The budget for a Public Art project may seem high if you are thinking that the piece is a small painting to be hung on a wall, similar to what you might see in a gallery or museum.  For example, the piece being installed in ATB Centre's Galleria and Gymnasium involves ten distinctive painted panels. The five panels facing into the Galleria are approximately 8 metres high by 5 metres wide. The five panels facing into the Gymnaisum are approximately 3.5 metres high by 5 metres wide.

Another thing to note is that Public Art projects are small construction projects – they involve design, fabrication, and installation. Large public art projects often take 12 to 16 months to complete – they are major projects! And the majority of the budget for each project goes to materials and labour, with the artist only receiving a small fee for creative time and effort.

 

How is a piece of Public Art selected?

Small Public Art Projects are selected through an application process. A call for new Public Art Small Projects is released every two years or once all projects funded in a previous cycle are completed—whichever comes first. Details of the evaluation and selection criteria are included on the application form. Check out <location on the website> for more information about this program.

Large Public Art Projects are selected by an ad hoc commissioning committee assembled by the City's Art Committee. Each selection committee is unique. A selection committee includes a member of the Art Committee, a local artist, a technical advisor, an individual connected to the project/site, and a member of the general public. A selection committee reviews and evaluates all submissions, selects an artist for a project, and then puts forward a recommendation to City Council to commission the selected artist.

 

How can I get involved in selecting Public Art?

The City of Lethbridge Art Committee establishes project-specific Commissioning Committees for large public art projects on an ad hoc basis. Commissioning Committees are tasked with reviewing and selecting projects. Selected projects are then brought to City Council for approval. The City of Lethbridge Art Committee is currently seeking artist representatives and community representatives to serve on large project Commissioning Committees. The City of Lethbridge Art Committee attempts to engage a wide spectrum of artists and community members in this process. Commissioning Committees typically review submitted artist proposals and project descriptions, as well as support material. For more information, please review the Public Art Commissioning Roster.

Public Art Commissioning Committee Roster

 

What is the City's Art Committee and how can I serve on the Committee?

The City of Lethbridge Art Committee provides leadership and support to the City in the coordination and implementation of the Public Art Master Plan and Public Art Policy. The Art Committee is an administrative committee of the Recreation and Culture Department at the City of Lethbridge. The Committee operates in an advisory capacity, reporting its activities to City Council as required. All Committee members are volunteers.

Committee composition is outlined in the Public Art Master Plan. The Committee includes two public members who serve four-year terms each. A new public member is selected by the Committee every two years. If you are interested in being notified of vacancies on this Committee, please contact Jillian Bracken at jillian.bracken@lethbridge.ca.