Two of the 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures on display in Oak Bay. Jelly, top right, by Nathan Smith, and Portal, bottom centre, by Heather Passmore, have been donated to Oak Bay. (District of Oak Bay Photos)

Two of the 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures on display in Oak Bay. Jelly, top right, by Nathan Smith, and Portal, bottom centre, by Heather Passmore, have been donated to Oak Bay. (District of Oak Bay Photos)

Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Two more sculptures were donated to Oak Bay this week, bringing the total to four donations so far this year.

Council accepted the pieces which are both from the 2019 ArtsAlive public art exhibition. The pieces came with a suggested location, however, council amended the recommendation and reserved the right to have the public art advisory committee help decide where they should go.

It’s part of an influx of public art in Oak Bay and brings the total number of permanent outdoor pieces to 10. That’s up from hardly any prior to 2015, said Mayor Kevin Murdoch

“It’s a fantastic problem to have,” Murdoch said.

It adds up to 20 when including the 10 annual ArtsAlive pieces on exhibit, not including the biggest mural in the region, Parade of Play, on the back of the public works building.

“[Before ArtsAlive] there was not one piece, besides the piece hanging inside the recreation centre,” said Oak Bay arts laureate Barbara Adams. “The idea was to build a legacy of public art in Oak Bay for future generations to enjoy. We had no idea in starting this that the public would really like it, and it’s been very successful.”

The donations started with an anonymous patron who was inspired by the Stanley Park mermaid. They thought the tidal rock along Beach Drive between Haynes and Queens’ Park could have something similar but with an Oak Bay twist.

That was denied last year. Since then, though, there’s been an influx of sculptures donated. So many, council has asked for a plan.

READ ALSO: Mayor’s arts fund to purchase sculpture in honour of Nils Jensen

READ MORE: Voting window for 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures nears its end

“Do we need a policy for these donations is a question that has come up,” Murdoch said. “The responsible thing is to look at every piece whether we have a policy or not, they are individual pieces.”

As Coun. Hazel Braithwaite noted, while the sculptures are built for durability, council does retain the right to remove or move the sculptures as seen fit.

The newest two pieces are Jelly, by Nathan Smith, which was exhibited at Oak Bay Village at Hampshire Road, and Portal, by Heather Passmore, which was at Willows Beach. These are in addition to the recent donation of the 25,000-pound marble sculpture Soul of a Wolf (inspired by Takaya) to be installed at Cattle Point (pending final details). Earlier this year the Winds of Time, a 2019 ArtsAlive sculpture, was accepted as an anonymous donation to go into King George Terrace.

But it’s not just the donations that are popping up. In 2019, to the ‘M’akhotso sculpture (Mother of Peace), a 2018 ArtsAlive sculpture by Linda Lindsay, that was purchased to permanently honour the late Nils Jensen at Monterey Recreation after his 2019 death.

Plus, there are the first five people’s choice winners of the annual ArtsAlive exhibition which are purchased by the district. The latest is the 2019 winner Harmony Humpback, installed on the sidewalk of Beach Drive at the parking lot entrance to Willows Park.

“When we started this about eight years ago, we had 28 locations identified, in principal, as locations for permanent art,” Adams said. “But we needed public input. The public needs to own this. That’s been a big part of it.”

READ ALSO: Winds of Time breezes onto Oak Bay lookout

It’s only speculation, but as council deliberated on Monday night, there is a question as to how many pieces are appropriate for McNeill Bay or Willows Beach. It was suggested in the council report that Portal be installed on Willows again, this time further along the Esplanade closer to Cattle Point.

These final two months of 2020 are Adams’ last as Oak Bay’s first arts laureate. The district will put out a call for a new arts laureate soon. It’s a volunteer position that can sometimes feel like a job, a worthy passion project, Adams said.

One thing Adams’ would like to see ArtsAlive tackle that it hasn’t is the addition of some performance spaces.

“Creating some performance spaces was part of the vision from the beginning,” Adams said. “We have had to put it on the back burner to focus on other things.”

Adams envisioned a circular bench area near a sculpture that people could sit at while musicians performed. It’s a vision shared with the mayor.

“I would like to see [dedicated] public space for performing arts,” Murdoch said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

oak bay

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Capital Regional District hopes to be a national leader in zero waste and the circular economy, but getting there will take curbing construction waste and addressing challenges brought on by the region’s growth. Pictured is the Hartland landfill. (Black Press Media file photo)
CRD aims to be zero waste national leader, reduce enough to curb landfill expansion

Capital Region will have to reduce major waste sources: construction, organics from apartments

Sidney Lions Club is currently selling 50/50 raffle tickets for a virtual fundraiser to send kids and adults with disabilities to Easter Seals Camps like the one at Camp Shawnigan. (Easter Seals/Submitted)
Sidney service club raises funds people with disabilities to have some summer fun

Raffle helps fund in-person and online summer camps for adults and children

Langford Fire Rescue (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford looks to strike out on its own for emergency fire dispatch services

Mayor Stew Young says the city is large enough to negotiate solo

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read