Posted by: VPSN | February 2, 2011

New public art adds colour to city spaces

Holly Ward: IslandHolly Ward. “Island” – from a 2009 exhibit at the VAG

Earlier this week the City announced the installation of three new public art projects – all connected with Vancouver’s 125th birthday celebrations.  You can look for the pieces – by Arabella Campbell, Holly Ward and Raymond Boisjoly – at key downtown locations.

All of the pieces sound great – and should add a dose of late winter texture and intrigue to the Canada Line, Central Library and CBC building spaces that they will occupy.

We’re especially intrigued by Holly Ward’s “News of the Whole World”  which will take the form of a 32×43 billboard on the exterior of the CBC building.  Beats Pattison’s version of outdoor messaging any day.  (Note to City: there are about 300 non-compliant billboard spaces that could also benefit from a public art make-over).

For those interested in the details, here’s the official word:

Three New Public Art Projects by Vancouver Artists

VANCOUVER, BC – Three new temporary two-dimensional public art projects by young Vancouver artists are currently being installed in the downtown core.

The artworks include Arabella Campbell’s landscape photo mural at the Canada Line Vancouver City Centre Station, Georgia and Granville Streets; Holly Ward’s large-scale banner installation based on agitprop constructions for THE WALL at the CBC Building on Hamilton Street; and a new set of banners contemplating knowledge by Raymond Boisjoly for the concourse at the Vancouver Public Library downtown.

These public projects are opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy unique images and perspectives on urban life from three members of Vancouver’s vibrant young creative community.

Details about Vancouver’s Public Art Program can be found at The program has facilitated over a hundred projects in the past ten years, spanning large-scale permanent installations, design-team collaborations and artist-initiated artworks.

1) Arabella Campbell’s project Lines in architecture and art (2011) is a photomural on the west window of the Canada Line Vancouver City Centre Station. A repeated image of a coastal landscape emphasizes the high-tide line where the land and water meet. This perfectly level naturally occurring “reveal” is echoed in the surrounding architecture as the gap between the level plane of the floor and the vertical plane of the wall. The work is a subtle reflection on the relationship between the natural and built environments.

” Situated within the public sphere this photomural presents a very simple meeting of land and water, highlighting how we draw from different ecosystems, the ocean and the forest, to simultaneously sustain our city.  The allusion to the endless rise and fall of the tide will hopefully foster a connection to the changing of time and rethinking of urban space with an environmental sensitivity and an understanding of the shoreline that frames our city. ”  –excerpt from Artist’s Concept Proposal

Arabella Campbell has a degree from UBC and attended the San Francisco Art Institute before graduating from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2002.

Lines in architecture and art is one of seven “platform” public art projects for the City’s  125th Anniversary year. The Public Art Program Platforms are two-dimensional opportunities at Canada Line stations, bus transit shelters and urban LED screens for which artists proposed projects in response to a call for proposals last fall. The Vancouver City Centre Station project is presented in partnership with the Canada Line Public Art Program of InTransit BC.

2) Artist Holly Ward’s News of the Whole World will be installed at the end of January as the second image for THE WALL, a 32’ x 43’ billboard on the exterior of the CBC Building in the newly renovated plaza at 700 Hamilton Street. The image depicts a small-scale architectural model based loosely on Russian Constructivist agitprop stands and theatrical stage designs from the early twentieth century. These designs were visionary proposals for early multi-media platforms, intended to disseminate ideas about the revolution and to influence popular sentiment. News of the Whole World reflects on its situation in a public plaza (replete with satellite feeds and information displays on the side of the public broadcasting building), in the context of contemporary mechanisms for collecting, processing and distributing information The work examines the role of media influence on the creation of ‘a public’ and expands Ward’s investigation into the role of visionary practice.

Holly Ward has exhibited across Canada and internationally. She holds a BA from the University of New Brunswick, a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and received her MFA from the University of Guelph in 2006. She was awarded a residency in the Art and Public Places Program at Langara College in 2009-2010.

THE WALL is an exciting new artists’ platform made possible through a unique partnership between the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, JJ Bean Coffee and the CBC and supported by a partnership with the City of Vancouver Public Art Program. The intent of THE WALL is “…to foster dialogue and public awareness about the city’s built environment, defined as manmade surroundings that provide the setting for human activity….”

3) Contingent Matters by Raymond Boisjoly is the tenth set of banners for the concourse of the Central Library on Georgia Street in the ongoing project at the Vancouver Public Library. The artist describes the work as:

“… premised on the library’s role as a site of knowledge production. Though the activities of the library’s users are immensely varied and particular, this work imagines them as a shared curiosity directed towards a differently articulated future.

The general concern of the text is the provisional character of knowledge as expressed through language…. The texts use tertiary colours (red-orange, blue-green, etc.) to represent knowledge as a variegated phenomenon coloured by things at a distance, always motivated and never neutral. The texts are placed against a background approximating the colour of the walls of Library Square to appear as if inscribed directly on the building’s surface.”

Raymond Boisjoly received his BFA in Photography from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2006, his MFA in Visual Art from the University of British Columbia in 2008, and a Paul D. Fleck Fellowship from the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2010. He currently has another public project on display through March entitled All That Was at Access Gallery, 437 West Hastings Street.

The Aperture banners are 20′ x 10′ and will be installed the week of January 17. The banners are produced through a partnership between the Vancouver Public Library and the City’s Public Art Program.



  1. Holly Ward was the Artist in Residence at Langara College’s Centre for Art in Public Spaces 2009-2010. Thanks for revising this mention in 2. above.
    Cheers, Kt

    • Hi Kt – Thanks for reminding us!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: