City seeks input on Princess Street Sidewalk Project artists’ proposals

January 18, 2021

The City is seeking your input on three public art proposals for the Princess Street Sidewalk Project, a permanent public artwork to be installed in the Kingston’s Hub area at the intersection of Princess and Division streets.  

Through a Request for Supplier Qualifications (RFSQ) process, three artists – Christine Dewancker, Don Maynard, and Brandon Vickerd – have been shortlisted by a jury of artists, curators, residents and local business to submit proposals for this project. Provide your feedback on the artists’ proposals from Jan. 18 to Feb. 5 through the City’s Get Involved website. Your input will be given to the artists who will consider it as they prepare their final proposals. Their concept statements are below.  

For the project, the proposed artworks must consider the area’s history and architecture (including the origin story of Princess Towers) and reflect the energy of the dynamic social scene for which “The Hub” is known. The artists must also respond to community feedback generated through The Hub Project engagement in 2019.   

The final proposals will be submitted in March 2021. The jury will then review and select one project based on artwork acquisition criteria. This process follows the Public Art Policy approved by Council and the final selected artwork will be installed by September 2021.  

Shortlisted Artists’ Concept Statements 

Clinamina Towers by Christine Dewancker: takes its formal cue from the Brutalist architecture of Princess Towers, emphasizing the geometric linear contours and minimal construction materials that exemplify this movement. The steel plates and central column of the sculpture will slowly rust over time, creating a natural patina and marking the structure’s slow adaptation to environmental conditions. The raised central concrete form at the front of the sculpture will function as a seat for pedestrians along Princess Street, creating a piece of urban furniture along the downtown corridor. Since Princess Street runs West to East, the shadows cast from the steel plates will also change over time, moving during the day with the course of the sun, revealing certain messages and marking the passage of time.  

Murmurations by Don Maynard: like murmurations of birds, students arrive in Kingston in the fall. They take on the challenge of learning and creating, they stretch their wings and explore the city, forming connections and building community. The sculptural concept, Murmurations, quite literally mirrors these changes and activities that occur at the Hub: the comings and goings of students, the local pedestrian traffic, passing cars, the sky and clouds; all of these are reflected in the sculpture’s highly polished mirrored stainless-steel surface. These reflections call to mind nearby Lake Ontario, conjuring images of light reflecting on moving water. 

The Wilds of Kingston by Brandon Vickerd: will consist of two bronze figures that appear to be citizens leisurely going about their day; however, upon inspection the figures will reveal themselves to be extraordinary characters with the heads of a pigeon and a squirrel. Humorously referencing cartoon clichés, this installation invites a thoughtful reflection on our relationship to nature and the urban environment. The Wilds of Kingston will consider and respond to the area's counterculture history… and reflect the energy of the dynamic social scene for which "The Hub" is known by turning the mundane into a moment of unexpected humour. The two figures, dressed in casual clothes such as jeans and hooded sweaters, could be people waiting for friends until the viewer gets close enough to experience the surprise of the full-sized sculptures. 

About the City of Kingston’s Public Art Program  

The City of Kingston’s Public Art Program supports the 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 this 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.