Kimberley City Council has approved a letter of support for an initiative that, if successful, could see the installation of a three-year street art project in Kimberley.
Layne Smith-Brown, who is a Freelance Project Manager, presented the idea to Council at a regular meeting on Monday, July 8, 2019.
Smith-Brown sits on the board of the Kimberley Arts Council. She has been working with the board in hopes of creating a three-year street art project in Kimberley that would see up to 30 pieces of art over a three year period installed on the streets of Kimberley.
She referenced projects that have garnered national attention, such as the Moose in the City project in Toronto and the cow sculptures in Calgary.
“The goal of this project is to increase pride of place, tourism and dollars in the pockets of business owners and the City,” Smith-Brown explained to Council. “We’re seeking the City’s support to allow us to place pieces throughout Kimberley and be part of the City’s branding. We want to incorporate public art into the City’s ‘great place to live’ theme that has a deliberate, cohesive look.”
She says that the project will cost approximately $125,000 per year, which she is not asking the City for help with aside from an in-kind contribution and the letter of support. She explained that her job is to seek funding from sources that support art-specific projects.
She adds that year one funding will come from the Rural Dividend Fund, the deadline for which is quickly approaching. If the funding is successful, Smith-Brown says the goal is to have the first year of art installed by 2021.
Councillor Jason McBain says he supports the initiative whole-heartedly.
“I think this is an awesome idea,” he said, recalling a recent trip to Revelstoke with his family. “They have some street art there and my kids loved it, they were asking us, ‘what does this mean to you?’
“I think [projects like this] get people’s minds moving. It breeds creativity.”
Councillor Kent Goodwin agreed saying that “public art is a great thing” and also had a few questions about the logistics in terms of maintenance of the art.
Smith-Brown says that there are still many details to be worked out, but the art would either be owned by the City or the Arts Council. The artists may be responsible for maintaining and upkeeping their own pieces but that is yet to be determined, she says. She adds that applying for and securing funding is the first step in the process.
Councillor Sandra Roberts asked if there would be a theme to the art, which Smith-Brown says absolutely.
“Ideally there will be a theme for each year. So for example, year one could be art made from recycled materials, or have a community theme. All of the pieces would tell a cohesive story.”
She went on to say that the art will be approved by the board before it’s installed.
“This is not a place to be controversial or push the envelope. They will be family-friendly, joyful pieces,” she said.
Finally, as part of the project she says some of Kimberley’s current sculptures and murals could also be looked at and encorporated more into the community.
“When I look at some of the art that is already here, there’s no context. We want to figure out a way to encorporate that. What is the intention of all the existing art?”