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  • Gallery Ring “Landscape / Still Life” Online Juried Exhibition

    Location: , ON

    Gallery Ring is seeking artworks for a juried exhibition with a double theme..
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  • Collaborative Art Project Call For Submissions

    Location: Waterloo, ON

    Co-Ex Art is a collaborative art initiative that has just released it's first..
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  • Online Exhibition: Per Astera by Malaika Z Charbonneau

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Malaika Z Charbonneau exhibits her latest markings, using paint and canvas to explore..
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  • “10th Anniversary” Online Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for a..
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  • 15th Solo Art Series – Online Solo Art Exhibition Opportunity

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces its 15th “Solo Art Series”..
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  • 10th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Call for Art - 5th Annual Animal Kingdom Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 5th Annual Animal Kingdom online art competition. For..
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  • Call for Art - Still Life Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for its 14th Quarterly Art Competition – Still Life. For..
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  • Beacon Original Art Spring Show & Sale

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Annual spring 2-day art show and sale with different artists in attendance each..
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  • Nooks & Crannies Outdoor Art Festival: Call to Artists

    Location: Okotoks, AB

    Okotoks Culture seeks proposals from artists to create temporary public art installations in..
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  • BORDERS - ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS BORDERS | Venice July-Nov 2020 ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival Deadline:..
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  • $550.00 Innovate Grants — Call for Artists + Photographers

    Location: , NY

    Innovate Grant is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2020 Cycle. Innovate Grant..
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  • 27th Lemonville Group of Artists Show and Sale

    Location: Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

    Please join The Lemonville Group of Artists for their 27th Annual Art Show..
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  • “Sensuality” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline April 30, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: A glance, touch, dance, flower, scent or piece of chocolate can..
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  • Artwork Shipping Scam

    Location: , AB

    This week an artist on our site was corresponding via email with an..
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  • Geoff Farnsworth: Colour Worker

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Join the Niagara Pumphouse for the opening reception for the exhibition entitled, “Geoff..
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  • Call for Entries: Art at the Pumphouse

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre is now accepting applications for participation in Art..
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  • Exaltation : Niagara Pumphouse Instructors' Exhibition

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Niagara Pumphouse is proud to host the Instructors’ Exhibition as its first show..
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  • Art, Wine, Interior Design Show

    Location: Winnipeg, MB

    Art, Wine, Interior Design Show! Exhibitor opportunities for Visual artists, Interior Designers and Wineries. Finding..
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  • Love At First Sight

    Location: Regina, SK

    Love At First Sight / Regina Art Collective members: Dave Gedjos / DeLee Grant..
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  • In Other Words

    Location: Regina, SK

    In Other Words / Regina Art Collective members: Nikki Jacquin / Derek Olson / Mark..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020 Venice | April 09 – May..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY 2020

    Location: London,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY – MIXING CULTURES ITSLIQUID International Art Exhibition THE..
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  • Appreciation of the Arts

    Location: London, ON

    Three day art and music event to recognize local artists in London, Ontario...
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  • Call to Artists - 2020 Sooke Fine Arts Show

    Location: Sooke, BC

    Artists are invited to submit work for consideration to the 2020 Sooke Fine..
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  • ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) 2020

    Location: Brussels,

    ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) is back on October 15-18, 2020 for its 14th..
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  • Call For Artists: The Other Art Fair Toronto

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Other Art Fair are thrilled to present the newest edition of The..
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Public Art: The Controversy in Victoria

By Robert Amos August 12, 2003

} Public Art: The Controversy in Victoria Victoria is facing up to a new sculpture, of high visibility and considerable cost. It's far too soon to make any judgement on what our representatives have chosen for the new Memorial Place Arena and Multiplex Centre, but we can consider the various successes of other civic monuments. Sculpture was simpler when we all could agree on our values. We honoured our leaders: Queen Victoria on the Legislature lawn, the gilded Captain Vancouver on the pinnacle of its dome, Captain Cook in front of the Empress (in bronzed fibreglass), and Sir John A. Macdonald slightly tipsy on the City Hall steps. The eternal values we fought for are memorialized in military cliche (the veteran's memorial at Belleville and Government), or made haunting and aesthetic (the woman leaning against the wall of memory at Cattle Point). Since the end of the Second World War, we have had trouble agreeing on heroes, and figurative sculpture is rare. The awesomely banal nuclear family group (outside the taxation office at Pandora and Vancouver Street) is like the village of the damned, trapped atop a tall base. unnamed statue at Pandora and Cook Street Only Jay Unwin has managed figurative work for the modern age. His working class heroes prop up a marble column inscribed 'peace and harmony' outside the new Victoria Police Station. More successful artistically is his monument for the 50th anniversary at Royal Roads Officer Training College. Since we can't agree on heroes and values any longer, abstract sculpture came to save the day. In the NDP years, art abounded. Around the Royal B. C. Museum forgettable pieces honour B. C.'s 1971 centennial. Elza Mayhew's obelisk at UVIC - carved styrofoam cast in bronze - bears silent witness to... nothing in particular. Beacon Hill Park has tried to avoid donations of sculpture but somehow a black granite monolith crept in (now behind a little wrought iron fence at Finlayson Point on Dallas Road). It¹s there to commemorate the twinning of Victoria and Morioka, but as a sculpture it is a failure. In perfect counterpoint to this is Maarten Schaddellee's white B. C. marble piece, propped up like slab of white chocolate at Clover Point. The white stone is carved with many explicit meanings - even the history of the the tiny shellfish of which marble is composed. monument to commemorate twinning of Victoria and Morioka, Japan (on the Dallas Road waterfront near Ogden Point) Perhaps the most dynamic abstract sculpture in the city is a 'found object' - the crumpled keel of a steamship which ran on a rock, displayed as sculpture at the entrance to Beacon Hill Park off Douglas Street. Any sculptor making urban art in Victoria faces two competitors with enormous advantages. The totem art of the first people of the Pacific Northwest is rightly called 'one of the great plastic art traditions of the world' and it is ubiquitous. Rooted in craft and tradition, created with pride and respect, the poles of Thunderbird Park are a hard act to follow. The ill-fated 'world's tallest' pole at Ocean Pointe made it clear that this form of monumental art does always succeed. But when it has the creative power and cultural significance of Mungo Martin's 'world's tallest' pole in Beacon Hill Park, nothing can beat it. (The 'world¹s tallest' is actually in Alert Bay). The tradition and patronage of the church is legendary. Chris Wallace's windows for the Chapel of the New Jerusalem are a brilliant and impressive artwork. Ross Bay Cemetery is the finest collection of Victorian monumental stone carving in the west, all in a park setting. So you can see what a modern sculptor is up against. He or she must express our rootless, democratic, politically correct, budget-conscious age, simultaneously pleasing the man on the street and challenging the best minds of our time. Good luck. Though you might not know his name, Illarion Gallant has insinuated an enormous quantity of good artistic sense and urban planning in our town. While it is always his top notes that get the attention (the aluminium arbutus at Fort and Foul Bay, the recycled manhole covers on Douglas) in fact his sidewalk and curb designs (Yates near London Drugs) and outdoor seating (Yates and Douglas) make a genuine contribution to our town. Linda Stanbridge's intellectual and sensual ceramic wall pieces have won competitions here (the fire hall near South Park School) but aren't as visible as free-standing sculpture. I wish we knew her better. Most recently Bob Wise won the competition for the Victoria Airport. The artists are hungry for this sort of work. Regrettably, the winning entry is out of the way, slow moving and looks a bit like a beach ball. Welcome to Victoria. Which brings us to Mowry Baden's winning entry for the Memorial Place, which was announced last week. He is certainly positioned to be the winner. At the end of a long career as a professor of Fine Art at the University of Victoria, his list of exhibitions and government grants is extensive. He's made a career of public art installations, most notably under a bridge overpass in Seattle. For the Memorial Place he has designed an assemblage of rock, steel and aluminium. Baden warms us up to this odd conjunction of shapes with a folksy 'story line' about memory and hockey games. Why is there such a negative reaction to his offering? Perhaps because his last public art project met with little public approval. I refer to 'Day is for resting...', or as it is familary known, the pink mattresses. In its design stage that sculptural ensemble at Blanshard and Douglas Streets had everything to make it a winner. It's public seating. It's an ironic joke (beds!) about the hotel which it fronts. It's unbreakable. It's challenging, like modern art is supposed to be. Unfortunately, in reality it's nasty. The sad bubble-gum colour of the upended mattresses hasn't improved with age. Anyone settling in for a comfy seat is in for a surprise - what looks soft is made of concrete. The large and mysterious signage seems a mocking billboard, a finger in the public's face, located as it is at the entrance to Beacon Hill Park. The sign by-laws can't touch it and the 'Artist's Intellectual Rights' ensure that it will stay that way for ever. Onward with art in the age of the committee. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2003 Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com