Travelling Light - it isn’t easy being blue…

the skinny by heavy industries

If you live in Calgary, I’m sure you’ve seen it – at the very least online or in a newspaper.  You’ve probably got a name for it – something not “family friendly” either.  The artwork has even developed its own personality and a social media following complete with artistic angst (see @Giantbluering and

Travelling Light by inges idee (1)

artwork concept by inges idee

Love it or hate it; you’re entitled to your opinion – it’s art after all.  As an advocate, I’m just glad that people in Calgary are talking about public art!  Unfortunately, there are some major misconceptions out there about the project and public art in the city.  I work at Heavy Industries, a firm that’s been building public artworks for over a decade. I’ve picked up a thing or two while working here, so, I’m sharing some information, direct from the team that built Travelling Light.

The Artists:

It’s ultimately not my place to debate the artistic merit of the piece.  Heavy Industries is a custom fabricator; we work with artists and design professionals to build unusual objects.  It’s our role to take a concept, figure out how to make it possible, and build it.  We didn’t conceptualize Travelling Light – that was inges idee.  I can tell you, however, that after being personally engaged in six public art projects with inges idee to date, that their artistic merit is not up for debate in my books.

inges idee is a collective of artists.  They have an impressive portfolio of public artworks installed globally (Singapore, Germany, Denmark, Taiwan, Sweden, Japan…) and have been working jointly on artworks in public space for over 22 years.  Their portfolio of work speaks for itself, so I encourage you to check it out here. I can also say, from getting to know the gentlemen of inges idee over the past four years, that they are creative thinkers, devoted to their art practices, and a lot of fun to go out for dinner with.

Running Track by Inges Idee 6

Vancouver has a giant raindrop (The Drop) and Edmonton has a running track that got up and ran away (Running Track).  So why did Calgary get a giant blue ring for our first inges idee?

The Concept:

I had a look back at inges idee’s proposal to the City to provide some insight into the concept and put together a synopsis.

inges idee examined the site conditions, noting the location for the artwork was where four bridge structures crossed physical features like Nose Creek, the regional pathway, and the railway line.  They called the site

“a conglomerate of intersecting traffic flows moving at different speeds.”

Travelling Light by inges idee (2)


site plan from artwork proposal by inges idee

So, it’s fitting that the artwork explores themes of travel and movement.  The ring shape references the wheel, and, while fixed in place, evokes the potential of constant movement. 

The lights mounted on top “trigger associations with a bird or a bicycle rider”.  The arches of the lamps call to mind handlebars of a high wheeler, or the silhouette of a bird, or a butterfly’s antennae – as such, they allude to slower speeds of travel and to the nearby airport simultaneously.  The arches are positioned at a 90 degree angle to the ring, symbolizing the intersection of different paths.

Travelling Light by inges idee (3)

Why blue?

“The radiant colour makes reference to the sky, which is always in the background, and contrasts with the bridge’s other functional elements.”

Since Travelling Light is located along a major traffic corridor, how it changes as viewers move through the space is important.  Travelling Light changes in shape from a bar, seen from the distance of the bridge, to a widening ellipse, and finally unfolds into a large ring as you travel towards it.  Seen from a distance, it forms a huge window framing the expanses of the landscape and stands as a striking icon.  This video, developed by inges idee in the early planning stages, illustrates the shifting perspective:

The Simplicity:

“Travelling Light is a site-specific sculpture that examines and brings to life the theme of movement.  Its simplicity lends it a universal character that triggers various poetic associations.” (inges idee, 2011)

So many people have commented on the simplicity of the artwork, asking how something that looks so simple cost this much money. In this video, Axel Lieber of inges idee discusses the concept behind the project (before anybody ever saw it) and notes:

“If it looks very simple at the very end, we did a good job, but nobody will know how complicated it was. […] If it looks really easy and that it’s not a big deal, then it’s a success to us.”

The Money  Policy:

So, let’s get to the heart of it, shall we? Most of the debate is over money.  Nobody likes seeing their hard-earned tax dollars going towards something they personally don’t like.  But, there’s a lot of holes in the information, so here are some facts:

Travelling Light was paid for through the percent for public art funding strategy, which sees one percent of all capital and upgrade project budgets over $1 million going toward art for our urban areas.  The policy has seen 37 artworks installed throughout Calgary since the implementation of the policy in 2004. Percent for art policies are becoming commonplace in cities across North America, including Toronto, Edmonton, Seattle, and New York City.  In Calgary, the funding mechanism provides for planning, design, fabrication, installation, purchase, management, administration, maintenance, conservation, and programming of the Public Art Collection; whew, that’s quite a bit to take care of.  If you’d like to read the policy, it’s online here and Calgary’s public art Strategic Direction is here.

Much of the controversy was derived from the placement of the art along a busy travel corridor.  The placement of Travelling Light was derived from the policy.  Mayor Naheed Nenshi has pushed for more flexibility in the public art policy because the location of the artwork at the site of the capital project may not always the best use of the available funds.  He stated,

“the one percent, in general, is a good thing, but I think we’ve probably been applying it a little too strictly.”

To hear it in Mayor Nenshi’s own words, click here.

So let’s put this into perspective: the $471,000 price tag for Travelling Light was just 1% of the capital project it’s associated with; the 96 Avenue NE Road Extension project costing approximately $47Million. The funds for Travelling Light were allocated under the Public Art Policy.  That means the money was dedicated to a public art project; it couldn’t just be turned around and spent on something else.

As for the art budget specifically, it’s standard practice in public art for an artist to assign 20% of the total budget to artist fees; this includes travel expenses, their project oversight, and the thought and planning that went into their artistic concept.  So where does the rest of the money go? In this case, back into the local economy.  Travelling Light was detail designed, engineered, bent, fabricated, painted, transported to sight, wired, and installed all by local companies.


The Build:

Travelling Light was built locally, in Calgary.  Heavy Industries oversaw the fabrication of the artwork and brought numerous sub-trades and suppliers into the project to support our internal capabilities, including a local steel bending company, engineering firm, electrical firm, and crane operators.  This is in addition to the support, management, and cooperation from other parties like the City of Calgary Public Art Program, the general contractor for the 96th Ave extension, geotechnical engineers, and other project consultants at the City.

It’s easy to forget how much goes into a project that appears so simple.  Until you see it in person, it’s easy to underestimate the sheer scale of the structure.  The ring has a 17m diameter – that’s almost 56 feet- and is made of a massive pipe with a 20” outside diameter.  Engineering to ensure the artwork passed intense structural scrutiny was imperative, accounting for its sheer size, Calgary’s windy weather, and location along a busy traffic corridor.

The ring is built with 20″ OD pipe, which was a challenging material just to source.  It’s also built under our Canadian Welding Bureau practices and procedures to ensure it adheres to CSA standards for steel structures.  Keep in mind, that it’s always easier to fabricate something in the comfort of our shop, but due to the sheer size of the ring, it was predominantly site fabricated – right on 96th Avenue.

Travelling Light by inges idee (9)

Travelling Light by inges idee (6)

If you’re interested in some technical details: The artwork has massive foundations required to support the piece.  In this way, it’s a bit like an iceberg; much of the structure is below grade and not visible upon completion.  The finished artwork is painted with an industrial-grade coating – one of the best available – to allow it to look as it’s intended to for years to come.  The ring also incorporates maintenance access for mechanical and electrical requirements.

Travelling Light by inges idee (5)

After site fabrication was complete, installing the project involved a dual crane operation, lifting the artwork into place before the winds picked up that morning.

Travelling Light by inges idee (7)
Travelling Light by inges idee (8)

So, say what you like about the artwork. But, keep in mind that a lot of planning and hard work goes into a project like this, fuelling Calgary’s local economy in ways that are not always immediately apparent. Whether the artwork appeals to you or not, it will be an enduring part of Calgary’s public art collection as it was built well and made to last by local hands. I, for one, am proud to say the people I work with built Travelling Light and look forward to seeing what its legacy becomes in Calgary.

Travelling Light by inges idee (4)


  1. No cigar October 11, 2013 Reply

    Great insight into the process. It’s just unfortunate that you couldn’t fabricate the piece as the artist had intended. The massive bolts visible under the lamps ruins the look of the whole thing and makes it look like a tacked on afterthought. Considering how much money was spent on this thing, why couldn’t you guys get it right?

    • Cassondra October 11, 2013 Reply

      Hi No cigar, The process from concept to detail design & engineer review in public art and unique features like this inevitably involves some compromises to ensure it’s structurally sound and buildable. Our role is to balance our client’s priorities for the project with the necessary adjustments while working within restraints like the project budget.

  2. Lucie October 11, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for a most interesting article on this project. Wishing people with opinions would inform themselves before speaking and making negative comments. The creativity and technical knowledge involved for this project is so interesting and I plan to make a special trip to view this artwork. Art projects of this sort enhance public spaces and give the city character. Well done.

  3. charles October 11, 2013 Reply

    are there any images of the artist’s original concept? would live to see the entire process from concept to completion.

    • Cassondra October 11, 2013 Reply

      Hi Charles – the image at the top of the page represents the concept as submitted to the City. I can look into digging up some earlier concepts for you, if the artists are comfortable with sharing these.

  4. Shcoked October 11, 2013 Reply

    Who approved this monstrosity? Name please!

  5. Peter Whyte October 11, 2013 Reply

    People hated the Peace Bridge for a while as well and now it is one of the most visited photographed things in Calgary. People are slow to warm up to change in Calgary but they will. Great video.

  6. Jamie October 11, 2013 Reply

    Whether or not I personally like this piece, I can appreciate it. This article is well and thoughtfully written, and I’m so glad, both as an artist and a Calgarian, to have had a chance to read it. Hopefully the piece will grow on us over time, as is often the case. No good art is without some controversy.

  7. Carly October 11, 2013 Reply

    Haters gonna hate! I was lucky enough to follow the progress and installation of the Chinook Centre polar bears and no matter the project, it seems like Heavy always does a great job.

  8. Riley Harper October 11, 2013 Reply

    I honestly didn’t mind it from the beginning. I remember driving to my buddys house and one day thinking, “what the heck it that?” It caught my attention… thats what it was supposed to do… had it not been for the Calgary sun and all the social media, and had people discovered it for themselves I’m sure everyone would have different views rather than hoping on the band wagon of thinking that this is stupid…

    lots of art is stupid… look at what edmonton got… that is pretty much the worst… I’d rather have a big blue ring then that piece of something…

    also only one percent is going to public art and its chosen by calgarians… if you care so much about public art then try to get yourself on the jury… or shut up.

  9. bobtheboulder October 11, 2013 Reply

    Its ironic that this $470,000 piece of bent pipeline representing something about transport even cycling perhaps is juxtaposed against a very poorly maintained bike path and even many dirt tracks used by cycle commuters. Next time put the .99% into the desperately needed improvements for Calgary’s bike path infrastructure before installing a useless piece of pipeline that doesn’t help those nearby cycle commuters just metres away battling the mud on their daily commute. The other 0.01% you can have to dress up that ugly overpass.

    • Cassondra October 11, 2013 Reply

      Hi Bobtheboulder,
      There are arguments for many different ways to spend money in Calgary, but you’ll see in the post that the money was designated to art under the municipal public art policy; it can’t just be turned around and spent on something else after the capital project has been approved.

      • anonymous October 17, 2013 Reply

        Art or not, approved or not, do you honestly think this is a better investment than half of those other “different ways” to spend money in Calgary? You can’t be that daft… This is just common sense. Calgary needs more than art at this point in time, and that ~$400,000 piece of metal could have been better invested into things that would actually improve Calgary’s economy. But let’s keep blowing money on stuff like this. It would appear a few people can’t adjust to decide what might be better for Calgarians.

        If we had another flood or some other disaster in Calgary, if money was already invested into some unnecessary art project, would you still pursue to push the argument that it can’t be invested into something else, because the money was already “dedicated” to a “public art project?”

        And that 1% is also irrelevant, considering that this 1%, is STILL over $400,000. That kind of money can still do better things for Calgary. This is a justification write-up for a bit screw up really. I’m sure lots of people out there don’t care about the fact that it’s a measly 1%. Even the most uneducated could have thought of a better place for that money to go, sadly.

  10. Stefan Walter October 11, 2013 Reply

    Great article, Cassondra! Definitely changed my perspective on the project.

    The taxpayers, particularly those with little understanding of visual arts, will inevitably criticize any project similar to this. “I can do that, so it’s not art” is a pretty common phrase I hear. Well, if that were true, why didn’t you? For this reason, I am glad there is a council appointed to make decisions in the city regarding art. I can’t choose for myself, because I don’t know what I’ll like. Instead, we should be tested, by installations such as these. For those that need extra encouragement (e.g., hints), articles like these can help.

    • Cassondra October 11, 2013 Reply

      Hey Stefan, glad to hear this post shifted your perspective on the project. My goal is to give people better information about the artwork so they can have an informed opinion; if it helps the artwork become accepted as a part of Calgary’s landscape, that’s a bonus!

      The public art selection juries are often made of citizens who are well-informed when it comes to visual and public art – many are artists themselves, former arts administrators, have worked in a related field, or informed citizens invested in making Calgary a better place. I haven’t personally liked all of the choices I’ve seen – and I’ve seen some good ideas get passed over that we’ve collaborated with an artist on – but I do trust that the decisions were made for the right reasons. And the proof is in the pudding; Calgary’s municipal public art collection is diverse and growing; we’re attracting some impressive artists to bid on projects in Calgary and our own citizens are becoming more aware of the art in their own backyard. (Calgary’s public art collection is online here if you’d like to see more:

      And I agree with you – public art should challenge us. It should reflect or speak to our community in a unique an intriguing way; it should engage us. If it just went up and nobody said a thing, we’d be facing banality instead of controversy. I’d rather people be talking.

  11. Beyonce October 12, 2013 Reply

    If you like it put a ring on it!

    • Coomon Sense October 14, 2013 Reply

      Of all the comments I have read on this page….yours is the only one that makes any logical, moral, and ethical sense.

  12. sheldon October 13, 2013 Reply

    this is pathetic, we have money for bullshit like this and yet everyday artists, musicians, venues etc. all get persecuted, shut down, and denied funding from the city? What happened to supporting the people that need it? I can think of many bands, venues, recording studios, etc that could have used this money and it would have benefited the city much more than some stupid looking oversized smurf cock ring.

    • Cassondra October 15, 2013 Reply

      …well that wasn’t very nice.

      • Menbemen October 15, 2013 Reply

        I very much appreciated your technical overview as it is very interesting. And you are entitled to your opinion as to the blue bubblemaker’s beauty of course.

        In the context of the city’s needs relative to choices of where to spend hard earned tax dollars, coupled with the audacity of some trying to defend this as being within the 1% budget, it is nothing shy of insulting to taxpayers, and a trophy of civic stupidity emanating from City Hall.

    • John October 17, 2013 Reply

      Maybe the brain should be put into gear prior to the mouth. Very ignorant and pathetic rant.

  13. j wilson October 15, 2013 Reply

    A bighorseshoe light would represent calgary better and the lucky artist would be well paid.Put the peace bridge through the center of the traveling light so all calgary can see how much we got scewed!!!

    • Cassondra October 15, 2013 Reply

      Why do you think “we go screwed”? I think Calgary actually got a pretty good deal, to be honest.

  14. Mike October 15, 2013 Reply

    Today’s Globe and Mail Front Page some words:

    Brokedown Palace, piracy suspect, chemical weapons, ethnic tensions, Blackberry, lower the temperature, breaking bad, we need jobs, anti-doping, assassination, beef recall, money is tight, budget showdown, skittish traders, debt ceilings, defaulting, soup kitchen, how to fight the common cold.

    Travelling Light – for a very brief moment confronts us and in doing so takes us away from all of the above to a very simple but complex work.

    Judging by the feedback, it appears to have worked.

    Great read and thanks for challenging the conventional.

    Keep moving forward.

    • Cassondra October 15, 2013 Reply

      Well put, Mike. Thanks for taking the time to read the post.

  15. Liz Grot October 16, 2013 Reply

    I get that art is subjective but this blue ring just looks dumb. Don’t raise taxes then tell me it was a deal at only $471 K. Every time I drive by the stupid thing my blood pressure goes up. No matter how you argue the case the ring is not art. It is an eyesore. Definitely not something, as a city, to be proud of.

    • Cassondra October 16, 2013 Reply

      Well, actually it is art. Designed by artists, handled through the public art program, the application of creative skills in a visual form… it would seem all the elements are there. But yes, it is subjective.

  16. Kenneth Toong October 16, 2013 Reply

    An eyesore and waste of taxpayers funded dollars to keep you and your “art” employed.” Funds should be diverted to fill potholes.
    This is not Gaudi art as can be seen in Barcelona

    • Cassondra October 16, 2013 Reply

      Art is subjective. The economic value: more objective. It can be argued that public artworks by world-renowned artists like Inges Idee may bring something of a “Bilbao Effect” to Calgary’s art scene and bolster our local economy. Although typically referring to architecture, the term can be extrapolated. To see what I’m talking about, check out this post:

  17. Andrew Gillespie October 16, 2013 Reply

    Yes, fascinating and complicated process but it’s a big ring! It’s still a pathetic, un-creative, so called ‘art’. I have live in Calgary my entire life and as a native Calgarian this ring is CRAP! Nenshi should continue to stand up and say what it is, a complete waste of money. I don’t feel there is any redeeming quality. It looks like a cable holder at a construction site, in fact that’s what I though it was, and it will always look like that. To quote Zoidberg ‘You are bad and should feel bad!’

    • Cassondra October 16, 2013 Reply

      Who should feel bad?

  18. Irene Kroeger October 16, 2013 Reply

    I do not like it, Who is on this committee to decide on the design and how did these people get on this committee, what is the criteria??? Public money is going for this, why do we not have a say who is on committee etc. many questions. Being a circle to represent traffic in a circle, we do not even have a circle drive around our big city???

    • Cassondra October 16, 2013 Reply

      The public art selection juries are often made of citizens who are well-informed when it comes to visual and public art – many are artists themselves, former arts administrators, have worked in a related field, or informed citizens invested in making Calgary a better place. If you want to have a say in the public art that gets selected, I suggest getting involved with the Public Art Program and attending some of the many public events that they host annually.

  19. Fluffy the Cat October 16, 2013 Reply

    To paraphrase Mr. Bumble (Oliver Twist), “The art policy is an a$$” (Editor’s note: the dollar signs to sneak past web censors add a certain irony, n’est ce pas?)

  20. Stan October 16, 2013 Reply

    I guess anybody can accept the “art” component of this expensive project (“those artists”, you know). Discussing our preferences in art is also pointless as this is very subjective. But – with due respect – to charge $377,000 to produce and erect a piece of bent pipe is simply ridiculous. That’s six times my annual salary for God’s sake! What is it about this installation that is so expensive? Have you guys lost your mind?
    P.S. Please, please do not send me your cost estimate you sent to the City. Pointless.

    • Cassondra October 16, 2013 Reply

      Hi Stan,
      Heavy Industries has been building custom artworks and architectural features for over a decade. I can tell you that the cost of projects like this is based on carefully evaluated cost estimates and years of experience. What is your experience in fabricating and installing custom sculptures at this scale to say that the cost is “ridiculous”?

      • Stan October 16, 2013 Reply

        I have been in the design industry and exposed to construction and production end for over three decades.

  21. Cassondra October 16, 2013 Reply

    This comment area is not a place to trash the artwork – this is a place to leave legitimate feedback and generate productive conversation about public art in Calgary. I’m not going to filter you comments, so please filter yourself.

  22. Wendy Welch October 16, 2013 Reply

    I was delighted to come across your well-written, well-researched and very insightful blog post. I am an artist and director of an art school in Victoria and I have long realized that people love to hate public art, and yet I am always shocked at the vitriolic diatribes that surface at the mere idea of spending public money on art. I am always perplexed by the amount of anger people have towards art. I think people would probably be amazed to realize how little of the total cost goes to the artist. Many people, such as yourself, were employed as part of this process. When it comes to public art people think a big fat cheque is handed over to the artist. I know a few artists who have made public art pieces and despite the fact that the city may have spent several thousands on the piece, artists often just break even when all the other costs are considered. My frustration with people’s anger towards public art is mollified by the fact that the work was selected and approved by a jury of professionals and it has been installed and it is now fait accompli. So art wins! Thank you so much for your post. I really loved all the details you provided. It was a wonderful ending to my day.

  23. Sad art October 17, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for the enlightening message. I only wish as an artist that I had a minute portion of that $ (maybe $1000.?). Isn’t it amazing how the vitriol explodes over a little bit of money? OK, I really mean a lot of money! Lol

  24. Maryann October 17, 2013 Reply

    I’m just so glad the city was able to find a ‘local’ artist….(Germany is ‘local’, isn’t it?) and a company to manufacture this ‘thing’ for exactly the 1%!!! How lucky was THAT? And 20% goes to the artist?? Wow! Go ahead and increase my taxes another 30% over the next three years! I’m very happy to pay through the nose (my taxes don’t even pay for my garbage pick-up or lighting on my street because I live in a condo complex!!) for this kind of so-called ‘art’. My ‘subjectivity’ is – I hate it and the concept behind it, and, MY money going towards it! How could Nenshi and the aldermen possibly understand when they already ‘rape’ me with their high salaries? This ring is nothing but an insult! The peace bridge (yet another ‘local’ Spanish eyesore) swinging back and forth through this circle??? Great visual! “LOCAL” artists, at least!! That means artists who actually live in Calgary!

    • Cassondra October 18, 2013 Reply

      Hi Maryann,
      It’s important for Calgary to include artwork by artists from other locations. Including an artwork by world-class artists like Inges Idee raises the bar in Calgary and sets a better stage for our local artists to be showcased. Internationally, it’s important for the system to be open to provide chances for Calgary artists to do work in other locations; we can’t expect international opportunities for Calgarian artists if we don’t accept those opportunities in return. Further, outside influence on Calgary’s culture can benefit our city. Saying that we should only showcase local artists is like saying we should remove all the books in the library aside from those written by Calgarian authors – that just doesn’t make sense.

      • Maryann October 18, 2013 Reply

        Boy, you have an answer for everything. Guess I shouldn’t be so critical of “international recognition” and “Calgary’s Culture”. Oh, wait a minute…yes I should. It’s my tax dollars, so I have every right. And, to compare this horrid circle of steel to a library?? Boy, you must be getting tired of replying to all these posts, if that’s the best you can come up with. Pretty sad that you feel you have to compare the two.

        • Cassondra October 18, 2013 Reply

          Hi again Maryann,
          Culture in Calgary takes many forms; we have amazing theatre, music, festivals like WordFest this week, dance, films, and visual arts (like Travelling Light). Excluding foreign culture from our city, such as excluding foreign artists from proposing visual artworks here, is tantamount to excluding foreign literature from our libraries or to telling Alberta Ballet that they can’t perform the Nutcracker at Christmas because its based on a novella by a German writer and an original score by a Russian composer. Like literature, dance, and music, visual arts is another form of communicating culture. It’s a very scary analogy and I stand by it. When it comes down to it, excluding outside cultural influences isn’t the answer. That being said, supporting local artists is also very important.

          And yes, you have every right to be critical of the policy and how council designates dollars. My goal with this blog post was to provide facts and instill an appreciation for the thinking, conceptualization, planning, management, fabrication, logistics, and installation that goes into a project like this. I can see you have a lot of conviction for how money is spent in Calgary. What are you doing/what do you suggest others do to influence the way tax dollars are spent, specifically in terms of public art in the city?

          In terms of value for tax dollars, you may be interested in this post my colleague wrote about the economic benefit of investing in culture:

          • Maryann October 18, 2013

            What do I do Cassondra? I do my civic duty and vote every opportunity I have. That gives me the right to voice my opinion. But, the voter apathy in this city is amazing! What gets me more is that so many people I speak with don’t take an interest in city politics and government, and do nothing but complain. I think we need to stop the current council spending so much money and then perhaps when they do spend on art and culture it wouldn’t hit such a sore spot. I’m all for culture…don’t get me wrong. I do understand the international appeal. Perhaps when we (the city) spend so much on one specific art piece, we should have more than a 5-person panel make the final decision. And, perhaps some media attention, prior to awarding contracts on these types of things would make the citizens more aware of where the money was going, which would give them the opportunity to speak up before it’s too late. Thank you for the lively banter back and forth Cassondra and the opportunity for me to speak my mind. I’ve actually really enjoyed it. I still don’t like the ‘circle’….but, hey….you’ve done your job well! :)

  25. Joel Gelfand October 17, 2013 Reply

    Nothing wrong with a little art in Calgary , we have a beautiful city but it is young and all the large art we that has been popping up around the city over the years ads to the city’s appeal.We saw it one day coming from the airport and wondered what it was. Good to know Great job!!

    • Cassondra October 18, 2013 Reply

      Hey thanks Joel!

  26. Mark October 17, 2013 Reply

    To me, this basically just says “we don’t know where else to put this kind of money, let’s blow it on a useless circle in the middle of nowhere on the side of the road.” Who’s brain was behind this joke?

    • Cassondra October 18, 2013 Reply

      The brain behind it was all the parties listed in the post above ^.

      • Mark October 18, 2013 Reply

        In case you didn’t get that, it was meant to be a rhetorical question. I already implied what I thought about this “circle” that does absolutely nothing for Calgary as a whole…

  27. 3point14rat October 28, 2013 Reply

    Interesting article.

    I never knew that the merit of something was simply calculated by adding the time and effort poured into it. Had I known this all along, I wouldn’t have put as much care into the final outcome of anything I did- I would have simply spent time and effort on it.

    I sure hope no one who works for or with me ever reads this article or subscribes to its message of ‘effort + time = value’.

    If I ever get a positioin with the City of Calgary though, I’ll know how to fit in.

  28. Reader October 29, 2013 Reply

    The big picture: It is clear that public art should be more representative of those who appreciate it; the public.

    How can we change the system?
    During the RFP (Request for Proposal) process the public art jury should select their pick of the top 4 submissions, which are then presented to the public for input through open houses and surveys.


    • AO January 30, 2014 Reply

      Not sure if that happens in Calgary, but that’s how it happens in Ottawa. The public is invited to an open house to leave comments about the top 5 designs for the jury to consider when making their choice.

      However, I would imagine that most of the people making the time to go to such open houses are already supportive of public art, as opposed to those who just complain about it in general.

  29. AO January 30, 2014 Reply

    Yes, you all have the right to complain about not liking the sculpture or how you feel it is a waste of money, but if you really want to do something about it, you need to put your efforts toward changing the public art policy . . . just as you would need to work toward changing the policies of any other things that you don’t like public dollars going toward. You have to get involved in one way or another, not just complain.

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