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STOP to public art, says False Creek resident

August 16th, 2009 · 40 Comments

I got an email recently from a sad-sounding False Creek resident who recently witnessed city workers installing this piece of public art at Charleson Park in Fairview Slopes/False Creek.

Charleson Park public art

Charleson Park public art

I haven’t heard anything from anyone else besides what Michael Ferreira has to say here. Anyone else noticed this and have thoughts on it? Here are Michael’s

  1. The fact the city apparently commissioned someone from San Francisco to create this (I say ‘apparently’ as I got this info from a neighbour who spoke with some of the City staff present when it was being installed.) Given that a) we have Emily Carr School of Art and Design a 10 minute walk away from this installation, and b) we’re 6 months away from hosting the Olympics – Canada’s games as I’ve heard John Furlong so often call them, couldn’t we have found a Canadian, or dare I suggest a local artist to produce something for this park?
  2. The specific location of the piece within the park – it’s quite obvious the City employee(s) charged with choosing the location have never spent any time in this park…never thought to take the time to spend some time there during the day, evening, weekend, etc. to observe how the park is used. Had they done so, they would have noticed that during any of these given times there are a multitude of activities going on –family picnics, bocci games, Frisbee throwing, impromptu baseball games, boot camps, tai chi…and in winter kids sliding down the hill on toboggans towards the exact spot the signs are placed. Why wouldn’t they have been place closer to the seawall where they might have had a tad more relevance, more visibility and more interaction with the seawalkers and cyclists.
  3. While I’m sure the piece has some deep thought behind it that the artist spent months formulating and trying to figure out how to express…or not…perhaps he’s sitting in a bar with some buddies in SFO laughing about this City up north that he completely snookered into thinking 10 stop signs stuck in the middle of a park had any artistic merit. Now don’t get me wrong…I am a big supporter of public art and would have no problem having some in Charleson Park – as long as it was better located and had an iota of either artistic and/or aesthetic value. Ten stop signs stuck in concrete in the middle of a beautiful, green urban park makes no sense to me. Give me something we can interact with – something that animates the space around – and don’t put it on my 5 year old son’s baseball diamond.
  4. Finally, the lack of any consultation, or even a ‘heads up’ that public art was even being considered for this park would sure have been nice. Maybe then, the “very nice folks” at City Hall who decided on the piece and its location might have avoided aggravating a whole bunch of the neighbourhood and gotten acceptance of it and maybe even a pat on the back.

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