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12 Street Bridge Public Art

A project-specific public art selection panel has selected artist Brandon Vickerd for the development and execution of a permanent public art project adjacent to the new 12 Street S.E. Bridge. The old 12th Street S.E. Bridge spans the Bow River on the south side of St. George’s Island and is in need of replacement due to its age and deteriorated physical condition. The bridge, constructed in 1908, was originally designed to carry horses and pedestrian traffic to St. George’s Island. Currently, it provides access to and from 9 Avenue S.E. to Memorial Drive for vehicle, foot and bicycle traffic. A new bridge will ensure this important link is maintained for the next 100 years. The new public art piece at this location is expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.

The Public Art Concept

12 street bridge artwork concept

The artwork will consist of a traditionally rendered monument that appears intact from a distance, but as the viewer moves closer the sculpture it will transform into a flock of sparrows scattering into the distance. Cast in bronze and positioned on a traditional raised pedestal, this sculpture utilizes the language and aesthetic of traditional statuary to actively subvert the authority of public monuments. Shifting Monument works to decolonize the act of monumentalizing through actively destabilizing the dominant cultural associations of bronze statuary.

The Artist has been allocated $220,000 to design and build the public art piece. This funding comes out of the bridge's capital budget of $26 million. Under various Albertain and Canadian trade agreements, all projects over $75,000 must be opened to bidders outside Calgary and Alberta. A seperate selection panel is assembled for each project and according to our Public Art Policy, seven members help choose the artist. Each panel consists of three community members, one City employee, and three arts professionals. Public art budgets are calculated at 1% of the first $50 million of the total eligible capital project costs and 0.5% of the portion over $50 million - up to a maximum of $4 million.

The Artist

Brandon Vickerd is a Hamilton-based artist and Professor of Sculpture at York University, where he also serves as Chair of the Department of Visual Arts and Art History. Purposely diverse, his studio work straddles the line between high and low culture, acting as a catalyst for critical thought and addressing the failed promise of a modernist future predicated on boundless scientific advancement. Whether through craftsmanship, the creation of spectacle, or humor, the goal of his work is to provoke the viewer into questioning the dominate myth of progress ingrained in Western world views.

He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and his MFA from the University of Victoria.