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Insight: REIBC blog > Community Vote Shapes Public Art in Castlegar

Community Vote Shapes Public Art in Castlegar

posted on 11:00 AM, May 21, 2021
Linotype Wapiti, by Carl Sean McMahon. Credit: Castlegar Sculpturewalk

Castlegar Sculpturewalk is an annual exhibition of outdoor sculpture featuring local, regional, and international artists. Now in its eleventh year, Sculpturewalk shows approximately 30 sculptures annually. Sculpturewalk itself is a rotating show, but it contains a “ballot-to-purchase” process that enables the City of Castlegar to acquire sculptures that the community is sure to enjoy.

Each year, Sculpturewalk installs sculptures throughout downtown Castlegar to create a walking tour, and viewers are provided with a tour map, a ballot, and information about the works and artists. Viewers use the ballot to vote for their favourite work, and the winner is recognized with the People’s Choice Award and purchased by the City for its permanent art collection.

“One of the keys to the success of Sculpturewalk is public engagement, which is a direct result of the People’s Choice vote,” says Sculpturewalk’s Joy Barrett. “With their voice and their vote, the community has both figurative and literal ownership of the art, and the residents’ pride in helping to form their unique and vibrant city is unmistakable.”

The remaining sculptures from each year’s exhibition are available for sale or lease. “[It’s] a program that’s proved very popular with neighbouring municipalities looking to increase their public art for a moderate budget, and for businesses looking to draw attention to their buildings with beautiful artwork out front,” says Barrett. “Nelson, Rossland, Creston, Kaslo, and Penticton all lease pieces from the program annually, and many of these partners have purchased pieces for their permanent collections.”

Leasing and selling sculptures from the Sculpturewalk exhibit support the exhibit’s continuation, with 30% of revenues going toward its annual operating budget. The remaining 70% of revenue goes directly to artists.

Input Spring 2021
Download Spring 2021

Read more in Barrett’s “Sculpturewalk Combines Culture and Community” in the Spring 2021 edition of Input. Download Spring 2021

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