Public art for Adàwe crossing

Posted February 18, 2016

Public art by Kenneth Emig installed on Adàwe crossing

Kenneth Emig, A View from Two Sides. Further information about the artwork is included in the following paragraph.

Public art was installed this past weekend on Adàwe crossing, the new pedestrian and cycling bridge spanning the Rideau River between Donald Street and Somerset Street East. The artwork entitled A View from Two Sides created by local artist Kenneth Emig is an integral part of the bridge design.

The artwork features two reflective stainless steel spheres, each 1.5 metres in diameter suspended at eye level on the extended observation areas of the bridge. Each sphere presents the observer with an ever-changing panoramic view that includes the sky, river, shores, bridge, pedestrians and cyclists.

The result is an unlimited variation of visual possibilities, providing residents and visitors with the perfect place to pause and take in the natural beauty of the area.

Kenneth Emig's art practice intersects form, light, sound, movement and technology. He aims to provoke awareness of our own perceptions and understandings of our world. He is currently Artist in Residence at the Responsive Ecologies Laboratory at Ryerson University. In 2004, Emig was awarded a City of Ottawa public art commission for his light-based installation entitled The Second Story, on permanent display at the Eva James Memorial Community Centre.

This artwork and other commissions were made possible by the City of Ottawa's Public Art Policy, which allows for one percent of funds from municipal projects to be set aside for public art to enhance the space and make art accessible to everyone.

Adàwe crossing was officially opened on December 4, 2015 and was named for the Algonquin term meaning "to trade". The name is also symbolic of the history of the river, the indigenous heritage of the area and the bridge's ability to link the communities on either side.

Image: Kenneth Emig, A View from Two Sides, 2016 

For more information: 


Posted June 17, 2015

New public art selected for pedestrian bridge over Rideau River

Kenneth Emig, A View from Two Sides, concept

Artist Kenneth Emig has been awarded a public art commission on the new pedestrian and cycling bridge being built over the Rideau River. The Rideau River Crossing will connect Donald Street in Overbrook to Strathcona Park in Sandy Hill.

Emig’s winning proposal, A View from Two Sides, consists of two 1.5 meter diameter stainless steel reflective spheres supported at the pedestrian’s eye level and above the Rideau River on one of the bridge’s extended observation areas. These large reflective spheres will create infinite and ever changing visual possibilities connecting the shores of Sandy Hill to Overbrook and situate the bridge within the surrounding environment of the river, sky and parks. 

Kenneth Emig’s art practice intersects form, light, sound, movement and technology. He works to provoke awareness of the viewers’ perceptions, understandings and support their interconnections. His artwork is generated by those interconnections, tempered by habit, and influenced by natural and/or constructed environments. He is currently Artist in Residence at the Responsive Ecologies Laboratory at Ryerson University. In 2004, Emig was awarded a City of Ottawa public art commission for his light-based installation entitled The Second Storey, on permanent display at the Eva James Memorial Community Centre. 

The City of Ottawa initiated a two-stage public art competition for the Rideau River Crossing in June 2014. After reviewing comments from the public, a peer assessment committee selected A View from Two Sides by based on artistic excellence and the experience of the artist.

Image: Kenneth Emig, A View from Two Sides, concept


Posted October 6, 2014

Public art to be chosen for new pedestrian bridge over Rideau River 

The City of Ottawa invites residents to have their say about the public art to be commissioned for a new pedestrian and cycling bridge being built over the Rideau River. The bridge will connect Donald Street in Overbrook to Strathcona Park in Sandy Hill, and is expected to be completed in 2016.

The public can meet the shortlisted artists for this commission and view their proposals:

Date:  Monday, October 20, 2014
Time:  4 pm to 6:30 pm
Location:  Overbrook Community Centre, 33 Quill Street, Ottawa. OC Transpo bus #18. Free parking.

The Rideau River Crossing - Call to Artists was launched in June 2014 seeking artists interested in integrating permanent public art into the structure of a new pedestrian and cycling bridge that will link the communities of Overbrook and Vanier on the east side of the Rideau River, to Sandy Hill and downtown Ottawa on the west side.

A peer assessment committee composed of professional artists and community representatives reviewed 13 submissions by professional artists and artist teams, and shortlisted five to develop proposals. The committee is soliciting public feedback on the proposals, which they will review and consider when selecting the winning proposal.

The five shortlisted artists and artist teams are:

  • Lynda Cronin
  • Kenneth Emig
  • Eiko Emori
  • France Grice
  • Shannon Whittle and Susan Gardiner-Bourlier

Public art commissions accompany major capital projects such as the Multi-Use Pathway and Donald Street Reconstruction. Using a percent of the total project budget, new art commissions are planned for public sites and are awarded to an artist based on a peer assessment committee’s recommendation. When complete, public art commissions enter into the City of Ottawa Art Collection


Posted June 10, 2014

Rideau River Crossing - Call to Artists

The City of Ottawa invites artists to submit their qualifications for consideration to design and oversee the fabrication and installation of permanent artwork to be integrated into the construction of a multi-use pedestrian bridge spanning the Rideau River between the neighbourhoods of Overbrook and Vanier on the east bank and Sandy Hill and downtown Ottawa on the west bank.

Shoreline perspective of Rideau River Crossing

Above: Shoreline perspective of Rideau River Crossing 

Deadline: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 5 pm EST
Information meeting: Thursday, June 19, 2014 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at Overbrook Community Centre (33 Quill Street) Ottawa
Budget: $30,000 plus HST (additional funds are available for the fabrication and installation of some integrated components)

Established in 1985, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program is committed to increasing awareness and appreciation of the visual arts in Ottawa by collecting, commissioning and exhibiting works of art, with an emphasis on local artists. The Public Art Program commissions site-specific works of art for display in public places. One percent of funds for new municipal development are mandated for public art in order to enhance public spaces and make art accessible to everyone.


Artists and artist teams are eligible to submit qualifications for this public art commission. Artists must be Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status and live within a 150 km radius of Ottawa, or must be Algonquin artists who reside in Canada.

Project background

The City of Ottawa completed an environmental assessment (EA) study in 2012 for a future multi-use connection across the Rideau River at Donald Street and Somerset Street East, and preliminary designs for the bridge were presented at a public open house in June 2013 at the Overbrook Community Centre. The intent of this future bridge and pathway connection is to provide better pedestrian and cycling links between the communities of Overbrook and Vanier on the east side of the river and Sandy Hill and downtown on the west side of the river.


Construction of the bridge is scheduled to begin in summer 2014, with completion in the summer of 2016. An artist or artist team will be selected through this competition to prepare design plans by December 2014. Fabrication and installation of the artwork will be coordinated with the construction team, and is likely to take place as early as the fall of 2015.

Public art vision

Public art for the Rideau River Crossing must be conceptually and visually innovative and original, while remaining sensitive to the history, architecture, social commentary and natural geography of the site. In particular, artists are asked to consider the historical significance of the Rideau River, and the bridge's dual functions as a connection between communities and an observation platform.

Design requirements for public art

The City of Ottawa is seeking an artist or artist team to design permanent integrated artwork for the span of the bridge.

Completed works of art shall:

  • Be incorporated into the design of the bridge railings or concrete deck
  • Be envisioned as a conceptually coherent body of artwork situated along the bridge
  • Demonstrate contemporary artistic excellence (conceptual, aesthetic and technical)
  • Be conceptually timeless and enduring
  • Be engaging to pedestrians and cyclists using the bridge
  • Be safe for the public
  • Not impede movement across the bridge
  • Not physically extend below the underside of the concrete deck
  • Not disrupt or negatively impact the natural habitat and wildlife
  • Be made of highly permanent materials that are suitable to the environment and require minimal maintenance
  • Be designed to allow for the installation of protective hoarding on the railings during each winter
  • Comply with all applicable codes including bridge codes, electrical codes and bylaws

The selected artist or artist team will be expected to work closely with the bridge designer, City employees and the general contractor to ensure that the design and execution of the commissioned artwork is fully co-ordinated with the construction process.

Public art site

Two elements of the bridge have been identified as presenting the best opportunities for the integration of art:

  • Handrail panels at four observation areas where the bridge widens
  • Concrete deck at the four observation areas, fascia and curb

Commission budget

The budget for this commission is $30,000 plus HST and must include all costs required to develop and design the artwork, including:

  • Consultation on design, fabrication and installation of the work
  • Costs incurred to test fabrication processes or installation methods, if required
  • Engineer fees to approve designs
  • Liability insurance
  • Travel and accommodation expenses for out-of-town artists
  • Material, fabrication and installation costs that exceed the fabrication budgets outlined below

Fabrication budget

The cost of fabricating and installing artwork that is integrated into the structure of the bridge may be covered by the construction budget if the artwork is a re-designed functional element already included in the bridge plans. For instance, if a piece of artwork is designed to function as a railing and meets the technical requirements and safety regulations for that function, then the funds budgeted to fabricate and install that section of the bridge railing would be available. However, if the artist chooses to use more expensive materials or processes to fabricate a functional element than those outlined below, the additional expense is borne by the artist.

Railings – The cost of integrating artwork into the bridge railings is covered by the construction project, subject to approval by the project team. This includes material, fabrication and installation costs based on the following:

  • The artwork is made of stainless steel.
  • The artwork is integrated into the railing design, is designed to meet the bridge design code requirements and can be manufactured and installed at the same time as the rest of the railing.
  • The cost of fabricating and installing the artist-designed railing does not exceed $4,000 per 1 m (3.3 ft.) section of 1.27 m (50 in.) high railing.

Pier Interest Point on the Rideau River Crossing

Above: Pier Interest Point on the Rideau River Crossing 


Concrete – The cost of any addition or alteration to the concrete bridge deck is the responsibility of the artist. However, the project team and general contractor will coordinate with the artist for the implementation of the artist's work into the construction. The costs associated with the artist's work, including labour, equipment and material, shall be the artist's responsibility. These costs include but are not limited to:

  • Moulds
  • Surface treatments
  • Imprints
  • Inlays
  • Pigments
  • Other alterations to the bridge design, as approved by the project team

Cross section of Rideau River Crossing

Above: Cross section of Rideau River Crossing 


Selection criteria and process

This commission will be awarded following a two-stage arms-length process as follows:

Stage I – Qualifications will be reviewed by a peer assessment committee consisting of artists with public art experience, the project management team and community representatives. This committee will select a maximum of five artists to move forward to Stage II. Qualifications will be assessed based on:

  • Clear articulation of a connection between previous work or artistic practice and the public art vision
  • Evidence of sufficient levels of skill, experience and professionalism to complete the commission
  • Demonstrated experience working collaboratively with engineers, architects, project managers, fabricators and tradespeople

Stage II – Shortlisted artists will be given more detailed Terms of Reference for preparing proposals, drawings and budgets, and will meet with the project team to review plans and design requirements for the integrated artwork. Shortlisted artists will be required to participate in a public consultation process in October to present their designs and answer questions. Comments submitted by the public during this consultation will be submitted to the peer assessment committee for consideration.

After the public consultation process, artists will meet individually with the peer assessment committee for approximately 30 minutes to present their proposals and answer questions. It is expected that a finalist will be determined by the committee in October 2014.

Stage II honorarium
Shortlisted artists (maximum five) will be given an honorarium of $1,000 plus HST to submit proposals, drawings and budgets for the second round of the competition.

Please note:
The City of Ottawa reserves the right to reject any or all submissions, or any part thereof, or to terminate or re-advertise any project. The decision of the peer assessment committee is final.

Submission requirements

Your submission must include all the sections listed below. Save the written portion of your submission and the digital images together on a single CD, DVD or USB stick with your name and contact information written directly on it. Please do not send a print copy of your proposal. Your submission must be delivered to the City of Ottawa Public Art Program office by Thursday, August 7, 2014, at 5 p.m. EST. We cannot accept fax, email or online file sharing as a means of delivery. The City of Ottawa will not be responsible for any loss or damage to any materials. Submissions will not be returned.

Accessible formats and communication supports are available upon request.

  1. Expression of interest
    Submit a maximum of two written pages explaining why you are interested in this opportunity: what aspect of this public art commission—location, architecture, materials or process—inspires you and what connects you and/or your work to the public art vision for this project. Describe your art practice and how you would approach this opportunity. Tell us about any other public art projects you've completed and how you worked with the construction team, other artists or the community. If you are applying as an artist team, tell us about your past collaborations and how you would work together on this project.


  2. Artist statement summary
    Provide a brief synopsis of your artistic approach in a short paragraph, referencing the relevance of your practice to this opportunity. This summary will be used as a quick reference during the deliberation process by the committee members. Maximum length: 80 words.


  3. Current resumé
    Submit a resumé of your art training, public exhibitions and commissions of your artwork, and any other experience directly relevant to this opportunity on a maximum of three pages. Include your name, mailing address, telephone number and email address. If you are applying as a team, submit a separate resumé for each team member and clearly identify the lead contact for this project.


  4. Samples of previous work
    Submit a maximum of 10 digital image files showing completed artwork, artwork currently in progress or the fabrication or installation processes for previous public art. If you are submitting as a team, you are still limited to 10 images – if possible show us work you have completed together in the past. If you wish to submit a video or other time-based media, or you are unable to provide us with digital documentation of your work, please contact us.
    1. Digital images must be:
      1. JPG format
      2. Maximum of 1240 pixels (along the longest side)
    2. Our image database can only accept files that are named with a number, followed by the title, date, material and support, metric dimensions and cost, each separated by an underscore. For example:

      01_title_date_material and support_height x width x depth cm_$cost.jpg
      02_work in progress_2014_LED and resin_1 x 4.5 x 7 m_$180,000.jpg
      03_untitled 5_2011_wood and metal_400 x 650 x 10 cm_$19,000.jpg
      04_installation at Karsh-Masson Gallery_2010_mixed media_variable dimensions_$0.jpg


    3. We cannot accept materials that require specialized software, plug-ins, extensions or other executables that need to be downloaded or installed, or materials that are embedded in any type of presentation, such as websites or Word or PowerPoint documents.
  5. List of previous work samples
    Compile a list with detailed information on the samples of previous work, using the name assigned to the digital image as per the examples above. Include information on the location of installed work, details on the medium, dimensions, fabrication and installation processes and the total public art budget for commissioned works. This list should not exceed two pages.

Reference material

The following list is provided to assist artists in researching the history, social commentary and natural geography of the site. The City of Ottawa is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Contact us for copies of the draft Heritage Impact Report and the Archaelogical Assessment for the construction project as well as additional community resource contacts.

Deadline and notification

Submissions must be received by hand or mail no later than Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 5 pm EST. This is not a postmarked deadline. Fax or email submissions will not be accepted. Late or incomplete submissions will not be reviewed. All participants will be notified of the results of the initial stage of the selection process by email.

Mail or deliver submissions to:

Rideau River Crossing – Public Art
c/o Public Art Program, City of Ottawa
172 Guigues Avenue, 3rd Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 5H9

Information meeting for artists

An information meeting will be held at the Overbrook Community Centre, 33 Quill Street, Ottawa, on Thursday, June 19, 2014 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Contextual information on the history and communities surrounding the bridge will be available, bridge plans and drawings will be presented, and artists will have time ask questions. If you cannot attend this meeting but would like to discuss this opportunity and/or receive project updates, please contact us.

Copyright and moral rights

Copyright, including any and all designs, drawings, maquettes and final works of art, shall remain the property of the artist. Moral rights remain with the artist. The City of Ottawa will seek permission to reproduce the images for non-profit publicity purposes.

Confidentiality of information

City of Ottawa employees and peer assessment committee members are required to treat both the content of submissions and the deliberations of the committee as confidential. To protect confidentiality, committee members turn in their copies of proposal materials for shredding at the end of the assessment meeting.

Information provided by the applicant may be available to City of Ottawa employees and members of the peer assessment committee. Personal information contained therein shall be dealt with on a confidential basis pursuant to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Contact us or 613-244-6852