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Public art

About

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

Search your collection! Public art is coming to a neighbourhood near you! 

To receive emails about new commissions, email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca with the subject line “subscribe – commissions.”  Calls to artists and announcements are emailed directly to subscribers.

Announcements

Vanier and Montreal Road Public Art Plan

Published May 15, 2019

everyone who came out to the Montreal Road Revitalization public information session

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Montreal Road Revitalization public information session! After considerable research and community engagement the Public Art Program was pleased to release the Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan.

Vanier and Montreal Road public art plan graphic

After considerable research and community engagement the Public Art Program is pleased to release the Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan. Developed by Rebecca Carbin of ART + PUBLIC UnLtd, the public art plan is rooted in conversations with community and presents a holistic strategy for public art in Vanier that is forward thinking. The Public Art Plan aims to reflect the communities’ unique character and diversity through innovative public art initiatives. Based on key findings from community engagement the Public Art Plan lays out public art opportunities and recommendations for implementation.

The Public Art Program will implement the recommendations by offering opportunities to artists for integrating with revitalization projects and by working in partnership with community and business partners.

The development of this Public Art Plan and other public art initiatives are funded by the City of Ottawa Public Art Policy that sets aside one percent of eligible municipal construction budgets for public art. This important part of city panning can spark neighborhood revitalization and adds distinctive character and identity to a space.

For more information and updates email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca or follow @PublicArtOttawa on social media.

 

Elgin Street Renewal Public Art Project Update

Published May 10, 2019

Expressive candidate selected by the artist for casting.

Images
(top left to top right): Roger Bruce (volunteer), Francis Montillaud (artist) and Marisa Gallemit (participant). Photo : Christopher Snow.

In November 2018, Montréal-based artist Francis Montillaud was awarded the Elgin Street Artist in Residence opportunity as part of the Elgin Street Renewal project. Francis has been working hard developing at artwork for Elgin Street based on the residency process that involved participation from local community members. Still in its early stages of development, Francis Montillaud has designed a series of sculptures that will capture a multitude of expressions of the people who live, work or play around the Elgin Street community. Francis seeks to democratize the tradition of sculptural portraits and monuments by elevating local figures and by championing everyday gestures or social interactions.

As part of the residency, members of the Elgin Street community were invited to take part in the artist’s creative process, as he explored themes of body language and social interaction through a series of video production workshops and casting sessions.

Forty community volunteers joined Francis at SAW Video where the residency workshops were held. A series of non-verbal interactions were conducted to explore facial expressions, body language and to express physical and emotional states. These interactions were recorded using multiple cameras from multiple perspectives. Expressive candidates were selected by the artist for casting in early April at the Jack Purcell Community Centre. These imprints will be used as the raw materials to create a series of striking sculptures installed along Elgin Street in spring 2020.

casting imprints on a table

This work and others are commissioned by the Public Art Program, in keeping with Public Art Policy. One percent of the funds earmarked for municipal development projects is set aside for public art to enhance the space and make art accessible to all.

Follow @PublicArtOttawa on social media for updates and announcements on the project.

Public Art Plan Unveiled at Montreal Road Information Session

Published May 8, 2019

After considerable research and community engagement, the Public Art Program is pleased to unveil the Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan at the upcoming Montreal Road Revitalization public information session.

The City of Ottawa invites you to attend a public information session (drop-in style) on the Montreal Road revitalization project.

View the Public Art Plan for Vanier + Montreal Road, talk to staff and learn more about other Vision Vanier initiatives!

Dates & Times
Monday, May 13, 2019
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Location
Centre Pauline-Charron
164 Jeanne Mance Street
Ottawa, ON

Vanier and Montreal Road public art plan

Developed by Rebecca Carbin of ART + PUBLIC UnLtd, the public art plan is rooted in conversations with community and presents a holistic strategy for public art in Vanier that is forward thinking. The Public Art Plan aims to reflect the communities’ unique character and diversity through innovative public art initiatives. Based on key findings from community engagement the Public Art Plan lays out public art opportunities and recommendations for implementation.

The complete Vanier + Montreal Road Public Art Plan document will be available online at Ottawa.ca following the public information session.

The development of this Public Art Plan and other public art initiatives are funded by the City of Ottawa Public Art Policy that sets aside one percent of eligible municipal construction budgets for public art. This important part of city panning can spark neighborhood revitalization and adds distinctive character and identity to a space.

For more information and updates email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca or follow @PublicArtOttawa on social media

New public art selected for the Rideau Canal Crossing

Published April 17, 2019

antler designed themed bench and a curved seat of wide wooden laths, resting on a natural boulder at one end and on an ornamented metal bracket at the other

Images (left to right): Claude Latour, Mōnz (Moose). Photo: courtesy of the artist. Sally Lee Sheeks, Alone. Photo: City of Ottawa.

In Spring 2018, emerging artists were invited to submit an Expression of Interest to a public art commission opportunity to design two public benches, helping to create a unique sense of place as part of the Rideau Canal Crossing project. One bench was specifically commissioned to an Algonquin artist or artist team, and targeted outreach activities took place during the initial stages of the competition to engage Algonquin artists. This commission offered emerging artists an opportunity to work under the mentorship of the third-party fabricator, Fluxworx, to refine their design, and see their bench designs come to fruition through fabrication and installation on site.

Sally Lee Sheeks and Algonquin artist Claude Latour were awarded the public art bench commissions for the Rideau Canal Crossing. Claude’s bench will be located on the west side of the Rideau Canal in the wetlands area facing the Lily Pond among native flora, and Sally’s bench will be located on the east side at the foot of the staircase ramp.

Latour’s artwork Mōnz (Moose) pays homage to the history of the area and will be created in the form of an abstract moose antler. Latour was inspired by the labourers under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel By being handed the task of creating a navigable waterway, and how this disturbance of the natural eco-system displaced many animals including the moose. Mōnz will complement the natural surroundings of the pond and the sleek modern site lines of the bridge. The antler designed themed bench will provide comfortable seating for the public. The bench will honour the past, present, future, and the Algonquin Nation on whose lands the Rideau Canal was built upon.

Sally Lee Sheek’s artwork Alone is a curved seat of wide wooden laths, resting on a natural boulder at one end and on an ornamented metal bracket at the other. A large, oval aluminium plate with a small cut-out bird shape will provide a back rest for the right half of the bench. The bench is designed for comfort, conversation and play, and to create a visual environment both harmonious and grounding. The various elements reference the area's history, architecture, population and natural setting as well as the evolving nature of the neighbourhood. Alone combines strong materials to create a piece which is stable and strongly anchored in the site.

Artwork installation scheduled for summer 2019.

This work and others are commissioned by the Public Art Program. In keeping with Public Art Policy one percent of funds for municipal development projects is set aside for public art to enhance the space and make art accessible to everyone.

The City’s Public Art Program initiated a two-stage public art competition for the Rideau Canal Crossing Public Art Project. Proposals were reviewed by an Art Selection Committee who selected the proposals of artists Claude Latour and Sally Lee Sheeks. Evaluation criteria included such considerations as artistic excellence and sensitivity of environment.

 

New public art installed in Barrhaven

Published November 29, 2018

  • Artist in residence project and public art commission in Barrhaven, Ottawa
  • Commissioned by the City of Ottawa Public Art Program as part of the Greenbank Road Widening project.
  • Thanks to Lafontaine Iron Werks
  • Video shows the installation of Dwell on Greenbank Road in October 2018. Credit: Liam Olders

In 2016, Brandon Vickerd’s Imagined Monuments proposal was selected as the public art project for the Greenbank Road area of Barrhaven. The project began with an artist-in-residence component in early 2017 which saw Vickerd spend five months engaging Barrhaven citizens as co-creators, collecting personal narratives and stories through a series of workshops and storytelling opportunities. He explored cultural narratives rooted in the community, discovered stories about the origin of Barrhaven, about the community’s growth and expansion and the role of its citizens in collectively establishing the identity of the community.

Following the residency period, Vickerd reviewed the collected narratives, identified themes and mythologies relating to the Greenbank Road area. He identified particular stories and these formed the basis of preliminary designs for the public art installation, Dwell. Dwell is a representation of the Burnett farmhouse rendered in corten steel and cantilevered twenty feet above the ground. This ½ scale three-dimensional house is typical of the farmhouses that once populated Barrhaven. Its design once dominated the rural community, however over the last few decades most of these houses have been destroyed to make way for residential and commercial development.

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 were allocated from the Greenbank Road Widening project. This construction project included the widening of Greenbank Road from two lanes of undivided traffic to four lanes divided by a central median.

Artist selected for Elgin Street Renewal Public Art Project

Published November 19, 2018

Francis Montillaud, previous work (details)

Images : Francis Montillaud, previous work (details). All images courtesy of the artist.
Clockwise from left: Danser avec les étoiles (2018) Curiosités (2012), L’Élan (2014), Carrefour (2013).

Montréal-based artist Francis Montillaud has been awarded the Elgin Street Artist in Residence opportunity as part of the Elgin Street Renewal project. Francis has exhibited at several artist run centres, public spaces and artistic events in Quebec, Canada and France and has completed a number of public art installations across Canada. The human figure is the cornerstone of Francis’ visual rhetoric. The artist employs a variety of visual strategies, drawn from sculpture, installation and theatre to highlight the relationship between site and users and to offer reflections on social relations, politics, the environment and art.

The Artist in Residence will create a series of opportunities for community interaction and collaboration with the Elgin Street community, to take place during his residency. The program will result in the creation of permanent art installed along Elgin Street that will be accessioned into the City of Ottawa Art Collection.

During the residency, members of the public will be invited to take part in the artist’s creative process, as he explores themes of body language and social interactions through a series of video production workshops. Selected candidates will act as live models, allowing the artist to capture facial and body imprints using traditional casting techniques. The intention is to capture snapshots of a laugh, a grimace or any multitude of expressions of the people who live, work or play around Elgin Street community. These imprints will be used as the raw materials to design a series of striking sculptures to be installed along Elgin Street. Follow @PublicArtOttawa on social media for updates and announcements on the project.

The artwork created for the Elgin Street Renewal project will integrate visually significant elements that provide identity and a distinctive character to the public space. As a legacy of the Artist in Residence, the artwork will enhance the street and its surrounding areas by creating an environment that is aesthetically interesting and engaging for the community, pedestrians and drivers. Artwork installation is scheduled for spring 2020.

This work and others are commissioned by the Public Art Program, in keeping with Public Art Policy. One percent of the funds earmarked for municipal development projects is set aside for public art to enhance the space and make art accessible to all.

The City’s Public Art Program initiated a two-stage public art competition for the Elgin Street Renewal Public Art Project. Proposals were reviewed by an Art Selection Committee, who selected the entry of artist Francis Montillaud. Evaluation criteria included considerations such as contemporary artistic excellence, sensitivity to the surrounding area and a strong community engagement plan.

For more information about the new public art, visit ottawa.ca or email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca

New public art selected for Maple Island

Published September 25, 2018

The imagery in the piece represents both a Great Blue Heron frozen in flight, and a whale ascending to the surface.

Local artist Amy Thompson has been awarded the public art commission for Maple Island, as part of the redevelopment of the Minto Bridges. Thompson’s artwork RISE / LEVÉE / KÒGAHAMOG is a tranquil, contemplative sculpture created to enhance the natural setting of Maple Island.  The piece invites viewers to contemplate their surroundings, and reflect on the unseen layers of history found here.

The imagery in the piece represents both a Great Blue Heron frozen in flight, and a whale ascending to the surface. These elements reference both the Champlain Sea that covered the area 13,000 years ago, as well as the fauna found here today.

The sculpture will have a white finish that references both the nearby Minto Bridges, the Beluga whale once found here, and the white pond lily found in the Rideau River that surrounds the island. This colour allows the piece to be more visible at night without the aid of lighting.

Along the base of the sculpture is a sound wave pattern engraved into metal. This sound wave will be a collaboration with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Cultural Centre and will be written in Algonquin, signifying the importance of this land to this nation.

RISE / LEVÉE / KÒGAHAMOG will be installed on Maple Island, a small island that sits on the Rideau River and connects two Ottawa neighbourhoods, Lowertown and New Edinburgh (Wards 12, 13). The island is a serene and hidden green space, with a great view of Canada’s Peace Tower to the west. The island has a rich history that includes Algonquin peoples, and railway for industrial use, and was originally part of the ceremonial route which connects Rideau Hall and Parliament. Artwork installation scheduled for Fall 2019.

This work and others are commissioned by the Public Art Program. In keeping with Public Art Policy one percent of funds for municipal development projects is set aside for public art to enhance the space and make art accessible to everyone.

The City’s Public Art Program initiated a two-stage public art competition for the Maple Island Public Art Project. Proposals were reviewed by an Art Selection Committee who selected the proposal of artist Amy Thompson. Evaluation criteria included such considerations as artistic excellence and sensitivity of environment.

For more information about the new public art visit ottawa.ca or email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca.

New public art selected for Fire Station 55

Published September 11, 2018

The artists’ landscape-based piece will be comprised of stone pillars.

Local artist team Alisdair MacRae and Che Wei Lee have been awarded the public art commission for the New 2 Bay Fire Station #55 at 2283 Portobello Boulevard.   

The artists’ landscape-based piece will be comprised of stone pillars. The pillars will pay homage to the firefighters as first responders, commemorating their role within and their service to the community. The stone pillars will also draw attention to local history, including settlement of the area, geology, and the environment.

To involve both firefighters and local young people, the artists will ask what it means to be brave, what does courage mean to me, and how can I be strong. Responses to the questions will be anonymous and topics of bravery, courage, and strength will create a relationship between the firefighters and young people. The responses will be engraved into stainless steel medallions and set into place on the pillars.  

“Very unique to seek children's input and engrave them on medallions!” – Online consultation survey participant

The artwork will be installed on the north side of the Fire Station located at 2283 Portobello Boulevard, where the artwork would be visible from the parking lot of the adjacent François Dupuis Recreation Centre. Artwork installation scheduled for summer 2019.

This work and others are commissioned by the Public Art Program. In keeping with Public Art Policy one percent of funds for municipal development projects is set aside for public art to enhance the space and make art accessible to everyone.

The City’s Public Art Program initiated a two-stage public art competition for the Fire Station 55 Public Art Project. Proposals were reviewed by an Art Selection Committee who selected the proposal of artist team, Alisdair MacRae and Che Wei Lee. Evaluation criteria included such considerations as feasibility, artistic concept, community engagement plan. 

For more information about the new public art visit ottawa.ca or email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca

New public art selected for the OAG Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Project

Published August 2, 2018

Large LED screen displaying a video of a pair of eyes installed on stone wall of Arts Court building

Brooklyn based artist, Adam Frank has been awarded the public art commission for the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Project for his artwork Spectator.

Spectator is a dynamic, interactive billboard. The art installation will operate as a beacon, attracting people to Arts Court and the Ottawa Art Gallery. A large LED video screen installed on the exterior facade will display the eyes of everyone who has ever participated in the artwork.

Inside the newly renovated Arts Court facility, the public will be invited to look into a viewing portal, which will show a real time view of outside, from the point of view of the video screen. The participants’ eyes will be video captured as they look out to the street below. Spectator will show the viewing history of everyone who has ever engaged with the artwork. This work is truly participatory as it allows the public to become a permanent part of the artwork and see themselves in it.

Spectator celebrates and elevates each viewer by reversing the traditional relationship between viewer and artwork. The installation will be a dynamic, ever-changing portrait of the community that adds subtle human expression to the Ottawa skyline. The artwork is scheduled to be installed by fall 2019.

This work and others are commissioned by the Public Art Program. In keeping with Public Art Policy one percent of funds for municipal development projects is set aside for public art to enhance the space and make art accessible to everyone.

The City’s Public Art Program initiated a two-stage public art competition for the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Art Court Redevelopment Project. Proposals were reviewed by an Art Selection Committee, who selected Adam Frank’s proposal based on evaluation criteria that included such considerations as artistic excellence, experience of the artist, and site integration. 

For more information about the new public art visit ottawa.ca or email publicartprogram@ottawa.ca

Image: Large LED screen displaying a video of a pair of eyes installed on stone wall of Arts Court building

The Public Art Program’s Faceted Search Tool is ready for you!

Published May 18, 2018

4 images

A new tool to help you search your collection!

You can search for art by medium!
Installation / Mixed Media / Mural /Other / New Media / Painting / Photography / Sculpture / Textile / Work on Paper

You can search for art by venue!
Art along the Confederation Line / Art along the Transitway / Art along the Trillium Line / Art at buildings / Art at parks / Art in the street

  • Find, share and explore digital content about the City of Ottawa’s Art Collection.
  • Browse city-owned artworks and artwork by local artists more frequently
  • Use digital information to find out when, why or how an artwork was collected and where it’s located in the city!
  • Check back regularly!  New items will be added to the faceted search tool.

Search City of Ottawa Art Collection!

Public art brings colour, inspiration 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.

A renewed Public Art Policy incorporates the strengths of past decades in Ottawa and reaffirms the objectives of commissioning professional artists to create original works of art for integration into public places. By presenting art in public spaces, the City of Ottawa Art Collection enriches communities, supports local artists and forms a visual art history of the Ottawa area.

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

Artwork from this collection is presented at over 150 public sites across Ottawa! Library branches, community centres, parks, playgrounds, employment centres, transit stations and City Hall display artwork for residents.

Public art is coming to a neighbourhood near you! 
For more information email: publicartprogram@ottawa.ca.

Images (left to right): locomOtion, Erratic Field, The Spirit of OC Transpo, Morphology

Calls to artists

Request for Qualifications: OPS – South Facility, Phase A

Photograph of the location of South Facility on Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa

Learn more

 

Request for Qualifications: OLP-LAC Joint Facility

logos

Learn more

 

Request for Qualifications: Vanier and Montreal Road

Public Art Program logo - blue

Learn more

 

Request for Qualifications: Elgin Street Renewal – Artist in Residence

Elgin Street renewal - mockup picture

Learn more

 

Expression of Interest: Rideau Canal Crossing

rideau canal crossing rendering

Learn more

O-Train Public Art

calls and opportunities, learning series…

Learn More

Terms of use

The City of Ottawa provides public access to its art collection for your personal entertainment, information, education and convenience.

The term “materials” includes all and any information, images, artwork, text, video clips, audio, animation and all other public art content on ottawa.ca. This website contains copyrighted works protected by the Copyright Act, and the regulations there under, and by similar international laws.

The materials are used by the City of Ottawa with permission and may be subject to other restrictions including copyright and other proprietary rights held by third parties. Public art content on ottawa.ca is provided for browsing, viewing, downloading, listening where such activities are limited to non-commercial, educational and personal use only. By downloading, printing or otherwise using the materials, users agree that they will limit their use of public art content to fair dealing, as defined by the Copyright Act, and will not violate the City of Ottawa or any other party's proprietary or moral rights. Users must acknowledge the source of the materials by including the URL www.ottawa.ca.

Questions regarding content, access to, loan of, or use of any associated images or content should be addressed to the City of Ottawa using the contact information found on the art collection pages on ottawa.ca.