Psssst! Creative folk! It’s time to get artsy. Calgary has a controversial past with public art, but have no fear! We’re not here to show you the bad stuff. Here are 10 of the best public art pieces in Calgary, picked by yours truly.
Weaving Fence and Horn
Posted up on the corner of 1 Street and 4 Avenue SW in front of the TransCanada Tower, Weaving Fence and Horn is pretty cool to look at. John McEwen tried to convey “the undulation of fences…across the rolling prairies”. We think he did a dece job. Also, the sculpture functions as a windbreak, which is pretty sweet for us wind-hating folks.
Don’t spend a lot of time at Martindale LRT Station? Then you might not have seen this beauty up close. A combo of LED lighting, glazed terra cotta and laser-cut steel, this art piece has a lot going on. Flowers, houses, maple leaves, cowboy boots and animals all make a cameo, but we’re into it. Thanks David Dahlquist!
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Joe O’Connell blessed us with this interactive piece in Barb Scott Park! An optical sensor projects the movements and colours it sees onto the artwork’s surface, so feel free to do an interpretive dance in front of this thing and see what happens. You can also play a movie from your phone for a similar effect. Cool right?
Okay, we’re not gonna lie. The Fire Apparatus and Repair Facility (1755 18th Ave. N.E.) is not our #1 hangout. However, bearing is a pretty good reason to check it out. Douglas Senft made it with locking and flat wave washers that represent a “singular and united element dependent upon the viewer’s position”. You may or may not have to hop a metal fence to get the full view though (@ City of Calgary, please fix this!).
Wolfe and the Sparrows
Inglewood just got a brand new bronze sculpture! Entitled Wolfe and the Sparrows, the piece resembles Gen. James Wolfe. (He was a British Army officer who won the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.) Canadian artist Brandon Vickerd created the sculpture to capture the “significance of the site and the land”. Additionally, he added the sparrow aspect to incorporate a “sense of whimsy or humour.” LOL, birds, are we right?!
Soo this one has probably graced your ‘gram before, and for good reason. The 12 metre tall, bent-wire head was created by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa. The concept represents the hopes and dreams of young Albertans, which is a cheery theme we can get behind!
Project Bike Racks
The Beltline’s looking extra spiffy these days and we’re pretty sure Project Bike Racks is to blame. They recently installed a sunshine-yellow art piece on 11th Ave and 5th St SW, and it’s just as functional as it is fun to look at. Not only does this art accommodate more bikes than old racks did, but it also spells out the name of the community in a cool way! Keep your eyes peeled for similar installations in front of the McHugh House and at 17 Ave & Centre St. SW, too.
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Noticed something glittery and new on the Calgary skyline? Wondering why you’re suddenly basking in a pretty purple glow? Well folks, it might be Telus Sky’s fault. Specifically, it’s probably because of their new Northern Lights display that’s set up on the side of the building. No, this isn’t aurora borealis for real, but it is the product of thousands on thousands of custom-made bulbs. The fully programmable, 160,000 square foot piece is pretty stunning, and we’ve got artist Doug Coupland to thank for it.
Winter Garden Chandeliers
So we may not have our own Chiluly Garden and Glass, but we do have a mini version by the iconic artist! Check out the hand-blown glass chandeliers at Jamieson Place (308 4 Ave. S.W.). These twisting tendrils and colourful orbs catch the light in a way that’s ultra dreamy.
With more and more brands and businesses finding out how they can get involved and bring the community together through art, Southcentre Mall is no exception. Their most recent pop-up, CHROMA is definitely one for the books. Complete with a 12 piece art installation by eight different local artists, this beauty opened up on May 3rd and will be running for six weeks. So, be sure to stop by CHROMA once or twice before the event ends on June 16th!
So there you have it, pals! 10 art pieces you just have to check out. Trust us, once you pose in front of these babies your Instagram is gonna be popping. Just don’t forget to tag us in all your snaps, k?
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