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Public art

Public art brings colour, beauty and imagination to neighbourhoods all over town. Whether it’s a mural at a Transitway station or a sculpture along the sidewalk, public art has become part of the fabric of this city - inspiring residents and visitors alike.

Calls and announcements

Public art is coming to a neighbourhood near you! Public art commissions accompany major capital projects such as the O-Train Confederation Line. Using a percent of the capital project's total 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.

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Features of the new public art on Main street

Posted June 12, 2017

Main2_Stuart Kinmond

The City of Ottawa invites residents to attend the opening celebration of Main2, the new Public Art on Main Street.

Date:  Saturday, June 17th, 2017
Time:  10:00am to 2:00pm
Opening Ceremonies: 11:00am to11:20am
Location:  Main Street, from Hazel Street to Clegg Street

Underlying the concept for this public artwork is the urge to represent the geographical, historical and cultural features that define Old Ottawa East, yet are largely invisible from this street itself. The windows open up this hidden view to Main Street.  At the same time the landscaped square will provide a community space for resting and socializing.

The heart of this small public square is three towers with coloured glass representing the Rideau Canal, the Rideau River and the Land between.  The stained glass reflects the neighbourhood’s ecclesiastical heritage, including St Paul’s University, Deschatelets Seminary and other spiritual institutions.

Each glass installation is comprised of three layers, spaced 18" apart, so that as the viewer passes, whether on foot, bicycle or car, the images appear to be animated. The coloured parts are translucent so that the colours are superimposed upon and blend with one another; this means that the design varies with the position of the viewer. Differing light conditions throughout the day also illuminate the glass in myriad ways.

The canopies, symbolizing the built environment, provide shade to the geometric shaped benches beneath.  The two benches under the outer shade roofs will be painted blue, representing the Canal and River, while the centre one will be green, to represent the Land. The centre one is circular, and the outer ones are semicircular, so that the two water elements, the Canal and River, fit metaphorically around the shape of the Land.

At night, LED edge lighting embedded in the window frames will illuminate the coloured glass.  The underside of the roofs will also have lighting over the three seating areas.

The artist Stuart Kinmond lives and works in Ottawa.  His work may be viewed on his website: www.stuartkinmond.com

Commission program

Public art commissions accompany major capital projects in the City of Ottawa. Using a percent of a capital project's total 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.

Funds for Main2 were allocated from the Main Street Renewal project. The art commission budget included all costs required to design, fabricate and install the artwork.

The City of Ottawa initiated a two-stage public art competition for Main Street artwork in January 2014. After reviewing comments from the public, a peer assessment committee selected Main2 by Stuart Kinmond, based on artistic excellence, the experience of the artist and the engagement of the surrounding community and commuters travelling through the community. The peer assessment committee was composed of artists with public art experience, a representative from the Main Street Renewal project and a community representative from Old Ottawa East.

Image: Stuart Kinmond, Main2, installed on Main Street

Opening celebration event for Winston Chandelier, Westboro

Posted May 24, 2017

Images showing Winston Chandelier in daylight and at night

The City of Ottawa invites residents to attend the official opening celebration of Winston Chandelier, a recently-installed public art sculpture that was commissioned for the Winston Place Plaza development project on Richmond Road, Westboro.  

Date:  Saturday, June 10th, 2017

Time:  12.30pm to 1.30pm

Location:  Winston Square at the south end of Winston Avenue (between Westboro Legion and DQ along Richmond Road, Westboro).

Join Councillor Jeff Leiper and Westboro Village BIA at the official opening celebration of Winston Chandelier, a permanent public artwork by artists Joanna Swim and Adrian Göllner commissioned by the Public Art Program for the Winston Place Plaza development project. Stay for a reception following the opening celebration and to meet the artists.

Winston Chandelier was commissioned in May 2014 and shortlisted proposals were reviewed by the public. Taking into account more than 50 responses from the public, a selection committee of artists, community representatives and the project team responsible for the Winston Square development chose Winston Chandelier as the winning design.

Winston Chandelier is a large, bold and fanciful chandelier constructed from laser-cut stainless steel panels fitted into a hexagon, surrounding a light fixture in the centre. The bright red beacon illuminates Winston Square and features silhouettes of flora and fauna identified with the Westboro area, including the Spotted Turtle and Small Mouth Bass. The bracket supporting the chandelier represents the branch of a Mountain Ash tree, and suspends the artwork over the dining space created by the plaza development project.

The Winston Square public art installation was funded in part from the Kitchissippi Ward Cash-in-lieu of Parkland Fund with contributions from local Westboro-based business Domicile Developments.

The City of Ottawa commissions professional artists’ works for display in public spaces from a percentage of funds set aside for municipal development projects.

Image: Joanna Swim and Adrian Göllner, Winston Chandelier, installed at Winston Square.

New public art selected for Canterbury Community Outdoor Covered Rink

Published April 24, 2017

The new outdoor covered rink being constructed at the Canterbury Recreation Complex (2185 Arch Street) will be home to Sky Hockey, a set of sculptures based on drawings that artist Christopher Griffin made while watching shinny hockey games. The artist plans that “these simple line drawings, which capture the nuances and body positions unique to skating, will form the basis for sculptures that are literally ‘drawings in the sky’ of two teams playing a permanent game under the rafters on the perimeter of the rink.”

By working in ‘sculpting bees’ with volunteers from the neighbourhood to mix the concrete and apply it by hand, Griffin hopes to instill a sense of community ownership and pride in the artwork.

Christopher Griffin is an Ottawa-based visual artist who works extensively with hand-formed and hand-carved concrete. Over the past fifteen years, Griffin has created and installed numerous public art installations in Ottawa neighbourhoods. He is the winner of the 2015 Award of Excellence, Ottawa Urban Design Awards, for his public artwork Blanding’s Turtles of the South March Highlands at the Beaverbrook Library in Kanata.

Funds for public art were allocated from the Canterbury Community Outdoor Covered Rink facility project. The City of Ottawa initiated a competition for public art in December 2016 and a peer assessment committee selected Sky Hockey based on criteria that included the strength of the proposed concept and engagement with the Canterbury community. The artwork will be installed when rink construction is completed in fall 2017. 

New public art selected for Barrhaven

Published February 07, 2017

Brandon Vickerd’s proposal has been selected for a public art project in the Greenbank Road area of Barrhaven. The working title for the project is Imagined Monuments. The project begins with an artist-in-residence component in early 2017. Vickerd intends to use the language and materials of traditional public sculpture to capture everyday stories from the neighbourhood and is planning story-telling events and neighbourhood tours as a way to research the final artwork. Vickerd wants the project to show that all stories and shared experiences are worthy of monuments. Find out more at imaginedmonuments.com.

The residency will be followed by the fabrication and installation of a permanent artwork along Greenbank Road.The members of the peer assessment committee who chose Vickerd for the project commented on “the refreshing way he defines public art, not falling back on history or artifacts, but validating the experience of the community in a contemporary context.”

Brandon Vickerd has an extensive background in the field of public art. He has received numerous grants and awards for his sculptures and has completed artist residencies in Iceland and in Yukon. He is recognized for his innovative art projects with non-artists, such as auto body workers and crane operators. An educator and artist, Brandon Vickerd received a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Past projects include kinetic sculpture, land art and public performances.

The City of Ottawa initiated a competition for public art along Greenbank Road in July 2016. Funds for public art have been allocated from the Greenbank Road Widening project. This construction project includes widening of Greenbank Road from two lanes of undivided traffic to four lanes divided by a central median.

New artwork coming to Crestview Pool

Published January 31, 2017

Concept for Moiré.

Dave Kemp and Jonathon Anderson’s public art proposal Moiré (working title) has been selected for Crestview Pool at Bob Mitchell Park (58 Fieldrow Street) where changes at the pool are currently underway. Development of the artwork will take place this winter. Installation of the artwork is planned for early summer 2017. 

Dave Kemp and Jonathon Anderson will be creating a sculptural artwork that uses moiré interference patterns to create perceived movement. This special effect is achieved by a double layer of carefully sized and positioned metal or plastic slats. The moiré patterns will be inspired by local students and the final structure may be free-standing or integrated into the fence.

Toronto-based artists Dave Kemp and Jonathon Anderson are collaborators in art and design-based research. They share an interest in non-traditional approaches to spatial design, public art and architecture. The artists have previously exhibited Interference at In FLUX - July 2016 at the Design Exchange (Toronto, ON). Both Kemp and Anderson are assistant professors at Ryerson University. Watch a video of Interference on Vimeo.

The City of Ottawa initiated a competition for public art at Crestview Pool in June 2016. A peer assessment committee selected Moiré based on criteria that included the strength of the proposed concept and planned engagement with the Crestview community.

Funds for public art have been allocated from the Crestview Change House and Pool project. The new change house will offer change rooms, outdoor showers, lockers, washrooms, a staff office, as well as house the tennis club. The pool will be replaced with a new pool basin, complete with updated accessibility features.

Image: Moiré, an art project concept for Crestview Pool by Dave Kemp and Jonathon Anderson. Image courtesy of the artists.

New public art selected for Innovation Park and Ride

Posted July 4, 2016

Lynda Cronin, Tempus. Proposal for Innovation Park and Ride. Further information about the artwork is included in the following paragraph.

Lynda Cronin's public art proposal Tempus has been selected for the new Innovation Park and Ride on Innovation Drive, Kanata. Tempus will be made up of several undulating petals of different shapes gradually decreasing in size , organized around an aluminum column. Each petal will be painted a different colour to represent the movement of light from sunrise to sunset. Cronin's artwork is inspired by time, movement and sustainability, and the essential role that sunrise and sunset has in determining nature's daily rhythms. The daily commute rhythms of transit users aligns with nature, and directional arrows within the petals mirror the navigational system of transit and pick-up and drop-off points. Tempus will be installed in a central location beside one of the platforms within the Park and Ride facility.

Describing her proposal, Cronin writes that "there is an abstract organic feel to the work reflecting the sustainability of intelligent transit systems as they relieve pressure on the natural ecosystem, carrying many passengers on a collective journey."

Lynda Cronin was born in Dublin, Ireland and studied at the National College of Art and the University of Ottawa. As multi-disciplinary artist, she uses a wide variety of media and art-making strategies in order to communicate meaning drawing references to geography, social migration and history within her work. Cronin is an active member of the arts community, and has received many awards from Canada Council, Trillium, Ontario Arts Council and others.

The City of Ottawa initiated a two-stage public art competition for Innovation Park and Ride in February 2016. After reviewing comments from the public, a peer assessment committee selected Tempus based on criteria that included artistic excellence, strength of proposed concept as well as how the proposal integrates with the style and function of the building.

Tempus is scheduled to be installed in 2017 when construction of the park and ride facility is complete.

Image: Lynda Cronin, Tempus, proposal for Innovation Park and Ride.

New public art selected for the expansion at François Dupuis Recreation Centre

Posted March 10, 2016

Amy A Thompson, Almanac, proposal for main hallway (south wall). Further information about the artwork is included in the following paragraph.

Amy A Thompson’s public art proposal Almanac has been selected for the expansion of the François Dupuis Recreation Centre, 2263 Portobello Boulevard. Almanac will be made up of two large circular wall mounted artworks fabricated from painted aluminum. Thompson will install the public art on two interior walls of the expanded centre, allowing for them to be viewed year-round.

Thompson’s artwork will feature images of the moon in both waning and waxing forms. Within the moon shape, a dense field of stars make up a series of constellations. These constellations are comprised of flowing and swirling lines representing wind and water patterns. Thompson’s idea for the project comes from the almanac, a guide farmers have consulted for generations. Almanacs track past weather conditions and can help with planning ahead. Traditional almanacs include information about sun and moon cycles, planting dates and eclipses.

Describing her proposal, Thompson writes that “Almanac invites the viewer to contemplate our night sky, the history of the area, and our place within it. In the same way that the stars and moon have been used to help us find our way or help us plan for the future, the François Dupuis Recreation Centre is a place where we come together to grow and to prosper.”

Amy A Thompson studied Fine Arts at York University and at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her art and design projects reveal dreamlike realities strongly influenced by geometry, nature and memory. She recently installed public art in Vancouver for the TELUS garden.

The City of Ottawa initiated a two-stage public art competition for the François Dupuis Recreation Centre Expansion in October 2015. After reviewing comments from the public, a peer assessment committee selected Almanac based on criteria that included artistic excellence, strength of proposed concept as well as how the proposal integrates with the style and function of the building.

Almanac is scheduled to be installed in the spring of 2017 when construction of the expanded building is complete.

Image: Amy A Thompson, Almanac, proposal for main hallway (south wall).