Optimizing a vote to public art

The City of Calgary welcomes citizens to vote which public piece will be brought to full scale.

Art show curator Lorenzo Fusi at ACAD's Illingworth Kurr gallery Friday, March 24, 2017. The gallery has a strong focus on public art and mental health. (Photo by Brady Bateman/SAIT)

Art show curator Lorenzo Fusi at ACAD’s Illingworth Kurr gallery Friday, March 24, 2017. The gallery has a strong focus on public art and mental health. (Photo by Brady Bateman/SAIT)

Bus pieces, greenhouse frameworks and dice introduce the future of public art to ACAD and the City of Calgary.

From March 23 to April 22, ACAD’s Illingworth Kerr Gallery (IKG) invites the public to cast a vote for an art proposal that is displayed in the Experiments in Public Art exhibit.

“It’s about sharing ideas [of public art] and sharing a way [for it] to operate, which is transparent and accessible to everyone,” said Lorenzo Fusi, ACAD’s curator of the IKG.

When looking at the exhibits, Fusi said there is a level of art in it, but more of an active practice.

Fusi reveals that the City of Calgary has been commissioning research in looking at public art and how the public understands it. He said most people love it and think it’s “a feature to contemporary Calgary.”

“It creates a better place for people to live in.”

Although this is the case, he recalls that some people still can’t see public art as art.

“Often there is resistance,” said Fusi. He claims that art is meant to be inviting regardless of style and medium. He highlighted the idea that people want to be asked what should be made, because of the use of public money. “That’s why we invite people to come in and take a vote.”

In relation to himself being the curator for the IKG, Fusi smiled and said, “this is my art.”

He said the experience is different for everyone.

The IKG is partnered with the City of Calgary’s public art program where the ultimate goal is to engage the public.

Three international artists mentored five artists for five months, to propose an idea or feeling to be expressed as art throughout Calgary in full scale.

“All of them try to address these realities while purposing some changes or enhancements,” said Fusi.

According to the IKG’s website, the City of Calgary has a budget of $50,000 to spend on engaging the public through art.

A large portion of why Fusi encourages people to come out and vote for proposal is because each art piece reflects what we’ve experienced at some given time.

Art Proposals

Re-imagining the Commons in Calgary
By Alana Bartol, Kevin Jesuino, and Anne Drew Potter
Through the foundation of a greenhouse branching into a graffiti mind map that anyone can contribute to, this collaborative, community-based project intends to bring communities together through The Commons in Calgary.

Job Description
By Taryn Kneteman
Inspired by unemployment, this mock office environment enables visitors to mark areas of the city by throwing dice and pennies, symbolic of chance and luck, where if this gallery is chosen, representatives will go to help and talk to anxious job searchers.

Experiencing the Natural Body
By Anne Drew Potter
This selection of Potter’s art displays the shared research on gender constructs and sexual preference. She said she wants to convey the feeling of comfort in being yourself and not being pulled back from it.

Recognition… Validation… Reassurance: Art and Mental Wellness
By Dick Averns
Half of a bus showcasing miniature segments of art posted on train stations and billboards that open up the key words of recognizing, validating your own and feeling reassured in mental wellness.

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