Public Art Collection
Where you can see the Collection
The City of Calgary’s Public Art Collection can be viewed in every ward across the city.
- Public art has been installed throughout the city for a hundred years. Some of these pieces include the Centre Street Bridge lions, the Boer War Memorial in Central Memorial Park and the Brotherhood of Mankind downtown.
- New public art commissions have been incorporated into infrastructure such as LRT stations, recreation facilities, parks and fire halls.
- Photographs, paintings, textiles and sculptures are rotated throughout City spaces and public areas such as parks, plazas, recreational facilities, public buildings and in the Plus 15 network.
- We lend to public institutions like Bow Valley College, Mount Royal University, libraries across the city and Calgary Foundation. We also lend to galleries like the Glenbow Museum, The Nickle Arts Museum, the Whyte Museum and the Art Gallery of Alberta.
Chinook Arc, 2014 by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock
Venus at Her Bath, 1850 by Artist Unknown
History of the Collection
Before there was a ‘percent for art’ funding strategy and a Public Art Collection, there was the Civic Art Collection which was managed and curated by the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation. The collection began growing with donations made as early as 1911. In 1946, the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation (CAAF), formerly the Calgary Allied Arts Council, was appointed trustee and steward of the Civic Art Collection. The Collection was supported by the passion and strong belief of a few early artists who believed that Calgary should acquire artworks of artistic and historical interest for the community. With funds from the bequests of Henry Bruce Hill, Wesley Fraser Irwin, Marion and Jim Nicoll, and Doug Motter, CAAF augmented the Collection through purchases, donations and commissions.
Roughly 80% of Calgary’s collection was built by the generosity of individuals, businesses and charitable organizations. People like Eric Harvie and his philanthropic organization, the Devonian Group gave and loaned to The City and its affiliates numerous artworks for places such as the Centennial Planetarium, the Devonian Gardens, Century Gardens, the Calgary Zoo and Heritage Park.
The City of Calgary assumed custodial responsibility for the collection in 1982, with the CAAF retained as an advisory committee on the development, maintenance, and promotion of the collection.
In 2004, when Calgary City Council approved the Public Art Policy, the Public Art Program assumed full responsibility for the administration and management of the collection. The Public Art Policy provides a sustainable and responsive ‘percent for art’ funding strategy for the acquisition, administration and management of public art.
Chogak Colour 25, 2010 by Diana Un-Jin Cho
Enjoy some of the Collection online
For more information, please contact the Public Art Program.