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

Just Posted

The District of Sooke is looking to revamp its business licence bylaw. Council agreed recently that all businesses must hold a business licence to operate in the community. (Kevin Laird – Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke pushes ahead with new business licence bylaw

Proposal calls for all forms of business to require licensing, but bylaw can stil be tweaked

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

A multi-building residential development on Erskine Lane in View Royal was approved by council on June 15. (Courtesy Town of View Royal)
Dire shortage of three-bedroom apartments, says View Royal mayor

New development to feature wide range of rental units, amenities for tenants

Embracing the urban forestry rule known as 3-30-300 could improve the community’s mental health, says Saanich Coun. Zac de Vries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich council embraces 3-30-300 rule to improve access to green space

Coun. Zac de Vries says rule promotes health and well-being through urban forestry

BC Housing has brought in sanitation trailers to the former Mount Tolmie Hospital site so its current residents can access clean water, showers, sinks and toilets after a collapsed sewer pipe impacted water service to the building. (Google Streetview)
Mount Tolmie Hospital homelessness shelter using sanitation trailers after pipe collapse

Travelodge shelter residents faced intermittent hot water supply in late May, early June

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

Most Read