The city’s culture manager is calling the tagging of public artwork discovered during spring cleanup “disappointing.”
Barbara Berger said two pieces of public art in Riverside Park were vandalized over the winter: Oblix, the bronze bull that greets visitors at the park entrance off First Avenue, and the Raven’s Nest sculpture, which sits at the foot of the pedestrian bridge leading to Overlanders Bridge.
“It’s kind of always been a code, an unspoken code, that artists would not tag other artist’s work,” Berger said.
“But I don’t consider tagging to be artwork. I really always hope that people distinguish between graffiti artists because there are some really amazingly talented artists in this town and it’s beautiful work, but it’s sanctioned work, too.
“This is just kind of scribbling. It’s a form of signature. It’s really disappointing to see it in those kinds of new places.”
Berger said the city continues to work with a community group to designate an area for sanctioned street art, noting it has been a positive initiative in other cities.
Meanwhile, three other public art projects will begin to take shape with the warmer weather arriving.
Bill Frymire is continuing his project on the Lansdowne parkade downtown following work on a test section earlier this week.
A large-scale mural will be installed, covering a good portion of the east and west sides of the building.
The public art installation is called Community Confluence, with 80,000 colourful aluminium (the material was chosen to avoid rust) tiles — about 7,000 of which will move — to include a river and represent the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers.
The tiles are ready to go, but Frymire noted work is weather permitting. Installation will begin from inside the parkade, though about half of the project will require machinery to elevate the crew for installation on the multi-storey building.
Frymire said about a dozen people will be working on the project and he expects it will take approximately three months, depending on how quickly the tiles go up.
“If it was just me, I think I figured out I’d have to be up there every day for a whole year,” Frymire said, noting his reason for hiring students and artist assistants.
Another weather-contingent piece of public artwork expected to rise by the end of April is the Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s Lend a Hand sculpture, which will honour volunteers who helped during the 2017 wildfires.
The sculpture, designed by B.C. artists Lee-Anne Chisholm and Aaron Harder, features hands and a maple leaf. It has been in storage after arriving over the winter and will be installed outside Sandman Centre downtown this month.
TNRD CAO Sukh Gill said the goal is to have it in place by Volunteer Week, which runs from April 7 to April 14.
“The ground, they’ve still got to prep, and then we’ll have to install it,” Gill said.
“It’s been delivered to Kamloops and we’ve been storing it, but the ground with the weather wasn’t conducive to the foundation.”
Finally, the Locking-in Hope project spearheaded by the Kamloops Food Bank is due to be installed in Riverside Park later this spring.
That project will see Kamloops residents close padlocks around a structure spelling out the word “Hope” near the high-water mark in the park.
Locking-in Hope is a fundraising initiative for the Kamloops Food Bank and, this far, $16,000 of the $100,000 goal has been reached. Locks can be purchased for $20 online at https://lockinginhope.com/donations/purchase-locks/.
Buyers can then decorate their locks and join a locking event on June 6.