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Public Art 101

Public Art 101 sessions are an important means through which The City of Calgary Public Art Program provides ongoing support and professional development opportunities to artists who are transitioning their practice from studio work to the realm of public art.

Topics are chosen based on expressed artist need and are presented throughout the year. All sessions are free but registration is limited. To register, please email publicart@calgary.ca.

To stay current on all Public Art 101 updates, sign up for our Public Art email bulletins.

Visit the Artists Working in Community page for information on the Public Art Program's other professional development series.

Upcoming Public Art 101 sessions

Sept. 24, 2016 - Bringing Street Art to Calgary: Painted City Celebration

Join the artist team from the pilot year of the Painted City Street Art Program for Youth, for a presentation about the history of street art, and the process of developing a street art project with youth and communities in Calgary.

Date: Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016

Time: 1 - 4 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

Oct. 15, 2016 - Presentation from Open AiR Program Participants

Join the 2016 Open AiR selected participants in a series of artist talks detailing their art practices and their experiences during the first edition of this community-based public art residency program.

Date: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016
Time: 1 - 4 p.m.
Location: Historic Firehall #6 at 1111 Memorial Dr. N.W.
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

Past Public Art 101 sessions

May 11, 2016 - Open AiR Launch: Residency Program for Artists

Open AiR is a City of Calgary run community-based public art residency. At this session, art administrators and artists from established residency programs will come together to discuss the importance of residencies being embedded in communities. Artists attending the event will get the opportunity to hear more details about the Public Art Program’s Open AiR, residency and have a chance to visit the studios. Event is free, all are welcome.

Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Time: 6 - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Fire Hall No. 6, 1101 Memorial DR NW
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

Visit the Open AiR page for more information.

April 30, 2016 - Public Art Selection Panel


Public Art 101 participants are invited to join members of the Artists Working in Community course as they present their final project proposals. Each proposal is evaluated by a selection panel as well as the audience, and the highest-rated proposal will be selected for completion. This will give Public Art 101 participants an excellent opportunity to see what other artists have created and how they present ideas.

Visit the Public Art 101 Selection Panel page to learn more.

Date: Saturday, April 30, 2016
Time: 1 - 4 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

April 2, 2016 - The Steps of Developing a Public Art Project: Planning, Budgeting and Making it Happen

Back by popular demand!
Work with accomplished Vancouver-based artist Bill Pechet on effectively integrating all of the necessary pieces to build a public art project. This session will include a 45-minute discussion about the various ways in which an artist can work in the public realm and how s/he is required to change methods to work in these ways. A two-hour interactive workshop will follow where small groups will come together to work on a hypothetical project that they'll take apart and build a plan for based on the idea.

Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016
Time: 1 - 4 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

March 5, 2016 - Panel Discussion: "What is the Role of the Public in Public Art?"

There is an increasing demand for the public to have a stronger voice in the selection and design of a public art project, particularly when it is publicly funded. This places an additional demand on the artist, which may or may not integrate well with his/her own artistic practice.

Please join our panel of arts and community experts as we explore the role of public participation in an arts practice. Panelists include:

  • Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra
  • Poet Laureate derek beaulieu
  • Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) Instructor, Alana Bartol
  • Independent arts administrator Ciara McKeown

The panel will be moderated by Sarah Iley, manager of Arts and Culture at The City of Calgary. Each panelist will provide a brief presentation followed by a series of questions posed to the panel.

Date: Saturday, March 5, 2016
Time: 1 - 4 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

October 2, 2015 - Public Art and the New Southeast Greenline Transitway

Presenters: Russell Rock and Jeanine Centuori, UrbanRock Design

Public Art will accompany the planned Green Line SouthEast (GL-SE) in Calgary stretching 26 kilometres with 15 transit stations. These artworks will include a range of media, site conditions, and scales. This interactive session will provide an overview of these public art opportunities and solicit input from the arts community on the formation of the art plan. The session will also include discussion about the practice of public art.

Date: Friday, Oct. 2, 2015
Time: 6 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary
Register: Visit E-REC and search for code 359763

May 23, 2015 - Public Art Selection Panel

Public Art 101 participants were invited to join members of the Artists Working in Community course as they presented their final project proposals. Each proposal was evaluated by a selection panel as well as the audience, and the highest-rated proposal will be selected for completion. This gave Public Art 101 participants an excellent opportunity to see what other artists created and how they presente ideas.

Visit the Public Art 101 Selection Panel page to learn more.
Date: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Time: 1 – 4 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary

April 25, 2015 – Lunch with the Public Art Board

The City of Calgary’s Public Art Policy requires that there be a citizen board of representatives who advise Council regarding public art initiatives within Calgary. These representatives are appointed by Council and play an important role in providing a citizen’s voice with regards to public art while also providing support to the Public Art Program by assessing all projects.

At this sessions, Chip Burgess and Katherine Wagner, current members of the Public Art Board spoke about what interested each of them in joining the board, what their role entails and any issues and concerns facing public art in Calgary today.

Date: Saturday, April 25, 2015
Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary

March 29, 2015 – The Steps of Developing a Public Art Project: Planning, Budgeting and Making it Happen

Work with accomplished Vancouver-based artist Bill Pechet on effectively integrating all of the necessary pieces to build a Public Art Project. This session will include a 45-minute discussion about the various ways in which an artist can come to exist in the public realm and how they are required to change methods to work in these ways. A two-hour interactive workshop will follow where small groups will come together to work on a theoretical project that they'll take apart and build a plan for based on the theoretical idea. Learn more about this workshop: The Steps of Developing a Public Art Project

Date: Sunday, March 29, 2015

Time: 1 – 4 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

February 28, 2015 – How to Apply for Request for Proposals

Join Sarah Demko, former Procurement Lead for Supply Management at the City of Calgary, and members of the City of Calgary’s Public Art Program staff in an interactive presentation that will help artists to better understand the Request for Proposals process (hint- no proposals required!), what’s needed in your response and what the juries are looking for in your application package.

Date: Saturday, February 28, 2015
Time: 1 – 4 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

January 24, 2015 – Special Guest Speaker Arlene Goldbard

San Francisco writer, social activist and consultant, Arlene Goldbard will discuss the importance of artists working within community and conduct a workshop in community storytelling. Learn more about this workshop: Community-Based Arts Work: Co-Creating Beauty and Meaning.

Date: Saturday, January 24, 2015
Time: 1 – 5 p.m.
Location: Nickle Galleries, Gallery Hall, Taylor Family Library University of Calgary
Register: Email publicart@calgary.ca

November 14 & 15, 2014 – Creative Time Summit

The Public Art Program, in partnership with the University of Calgary Art Department and support of the Nickle Galleries, are presenting a screening of the Creative Time Summit, which explores socially and politically engaged art in a global context. Launched in 2009 at the New York Public Library, the 2014 event is a collaboration between the New York City-based Creative Time and Stockholm’s Public Art Agency Sweden. Taking place in Stockholm and streamed to 70-plus international sites, the Summit will focus on artists’ work as they look at the rise of nationalism, xenophobia, and anti-immigration sentiment, as well as their relationship to surveillance and public spaces.

The free two-day event will be screened within the Gallery Hall at the UofC’s Nickle Galleries, and will also feature local artist group participation, presentations and networking.

November 2013 – Temporary Public Art

Local artists joined Ciara McKeown, Tomas Jonsson, Leslie Sweder, Eric Moschopedis and Mia Rushton to talk about the ever-evolving topic of temporary public art. They learned about the practice and how is it currently being used as an important and meaningful expression. Participants enjoyed the opportunity to speak in small groups about the benefits and challenges of working this way.

September 2013 – Ideation Development

ACAD faculty member and masters in design graduate, Jesse Shurburne presented on ideation development using digital technologies such as digital rendering programs. These techniques which are largely used in architectural practices as a method to create better realized and more comprehensive proposals, also prove beneficial for public artists.

June 2013 – Public Art Fabrication Tour and Talk

This unique opportunity gave aspiring public artists an inside view of one of Canada’s premier public art fabricators, Heavy Industries. They got to check out the facility, see first-hand how big ideas become reality, learn about three dimensional design for manufacturing, meet the faces behind Heavy Industries’ portfolio of art and architecture work, and learn what partnering with a fabricator could mean for their art practice. Plus, artists enjoyed some tasty samplings from Top Chef Canada competitor Nicole Gomes!

April 2013 - Community-Based Public Art

We explored community-based public art and learned about the practice, engagement processes, opportunities for funding and differing experiences. We heard from individual artists and organizations that are currently working on community-based art within Calgary.

Presenters included:

February 2013 - Artist-In-Residence Programs

In this session, we explored and discussed artist-in-residence programs and opportunities both in Calgary and worldwide. Presenting artists shared their experiences of working in local and international residence programs, and present information on what’s involved in the application and funding process.

Presenting artists included:

November 2012 - Site and Context in Public Art

Guest Speaker: Gord Ferguson

Part One of Gord's presentation:

March 2012 Getting Started in Public Art - A Community Brainstorming Session

Guest Speaker: Shelley Ouellet

In this session we discussed how artists can create their own opportunities and move their practice from the studio into the public realm, even without being awarded a commission. Attendees were asked to come prepared with some public art project ideas that they were willing to workshop and share. The group then brainstormed how to move these ideas forward into the public realm, whether working independently or with a team of collaborators.

February 2012 - How to Build a Budget for a Public Art Project

Guest Speaker: Tony Bloom

, Tuesday, February 21, 2012, guest speaker Tony Bloom iscussed the details of developing budgets for large scale public art projects, and how to handle the delays and changes that inevitably come up as the project follows its course to completion. ony poke about how to "treat yourself as a professional", ncluding how to iarize all aspects of the project, and ntroduced project management programs, damage quantification, hard-edge accounting, when to be flexible and other details earned from his experience in the field.

You can download Tony's presentation here.

Winter 2011 - How to Apply for a Public Art Competition

On December 6, 2011, Diana Sherlock with members of the Public Art team used the example of an actual 'Request for Proposals' for a City of Calgary project to review the basics of preparing a professional application (cover letter, portfolio and CV) and provide clarity around the Public Art Program's artist selection process.

The session included the following presentations:

Fall 2011 - Entrepreneur Artist: Business of Being a Professional Artist

On Tuesday, Sept. 27, Jeff de Boer kicked off the fall season of the Public Art 101 professional development series. He spoke on his journey of becoming a professional artist, and shared his stories of how to build a business and a reputation, all while addressing the passion and pitfalls of a challenging and yet infinitely rewarding industry.

Thanks to Jeff and all who attended this session.

February to June 2011

The following are the presentations made available through the first series of Public Art 101 sessions that ran from February to June 2011.

  1. The nuts and bolts of creating public art for their communities
    Calgary Context - Presentation
  2. Making the Transition from Studio to Public Artist
    Calgary Context - Studio to Public Art - Presentation
  3. Getting Started
    Developing a Concept - Presentation
  4. Developing the design: Working with materials and Budgets
    Developing the Design - Presentation
  5. Contracts and Copyrights
    Contracts and Copyrights - Presentation