A new permanent public artwork entitled, “The Wilds of Kingston” by Canadian contemporary artist, Brandon Vickerd, has been installed at the corner of Princess and Division Streets as part of The Hub Project. Due to COVID-19, a small-scale unveiling was hosted earlier today with the artist in attendance along with Councilors Jim Neill (District 9, Williamsville) and Rob Hutchison (District 11, King’s Town). Other guests included representatives from local area businesses, the jury members who selected Vickerd’s proposal, and members of The Tragically Hip, whose band t-shirt is featured as part of the installation.
“Brandon Vickerd’s dynamic and playful public art piece uses humour to challenge our perceptions of sculpture and how it functions and invites reflection on the relationship between people, nature, and the urban environment,” says Danika Lochhead, Manager, Arts and Sector Development, Arts & Culture Services. “The installation of this new work marks a milestone for The Hub Project that was initiated in 2018 to highlight this entrance to the downtown core and to connect the local neighbourhoods through art by implementing a series of temporary and permanent improvements to the area, adds Lockhead.”
“The Wilds of Kingston” consists of two bronze figures that, at first glance, appear to be pedestrians going about their business; however, on closer inspection, the figures reveal themselves to be figures with the heads of a pigeon and a squirrel. The artwork is intended to be surprising and playful and also creates an opportunity to highlight the counterculture history and landmark status of Princess Towers, formerly known as Elrond College, built in the 1960s as an experimental student-run housing cooperative. “The Wilds of Kingston” creates a new local landmark and is intended to prompt people to think differently about what they tend to take for granted. For more information on the artwork, visit the City website.
This project is the City’s third large-scale permanent public art installation in 2021 as part of the Public Art Program. “The Wilds of Kingston” was selected through an open call for submissions process by a jury made up of professional artists and curators, as well as local area businesses and student representation based on interests in the site of the public artwork. The project involved public consultation and residents' input throughout the design process.
About 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. His public artworks are exhibited across Canada in Ottawa, Calgary, Waterloo, Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Edmonton. Vickerd’s sculptural work straddles the line between high and low culture and combines craftsmanship with spectacle and humor to provoke a response and to question Western world views, traditions, and ways of thinking. http://brandonvickerd.com/
The Hub Project is a multi-phase initiative designed to connect three neighbourhoods, including Williamsville, Sydenham and King’s Town, through artful interventions designed to make the intersection of Princess and Division streets, also known as “The Hub”, more welcoming and friendly for everyone. It involved extensive public consultation that helped to identify themes and to guide the public art being presented.
The Hub Project was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and its Main Street Revitalization Initiative, and by the City of Kingston. For more information, please visit The Hub Project website.
About the City’s Public Art Program
The City’s Public Art Program supports creation of contemporary public art by emerging and established artists through commissions and artist collaborations. The program produces art for public spaces throughout the city, contributes to developing a vibrant public realm in Kingston, and enhances a sense of community across the city, in the downtown, suburban, rural, and natural areas. Through the program, the City is committed to working with artists, residents and the public and private sectors in the ongoing development and implementation of public art projects to establish Kingston as a hub of creative placemaking that recognizes and builds on the City's diverse history, engages its community and inspires its future leaders.
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