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Public Art Policy given green light By Oona Woods The goals and objectives of Whistler's Public Art policy were given the nod of approval by council at its last meeting. The policy’s goals, agreed to unanimously, are to "enrich the public environment and promote awareness, understanding, access and enjoyment of art as part of everyday life for Whistler locals and visitors." The Sightlines project, next to the BrewHouse, features "talking point" pieces of art on the bridge and is an example of the kind of art injection into the local landscape that this policy is promoting. Other goals for the policy include enhancing the sense of community identity and encouraging artworks that reflect community and regional diversity, values, history, nature and culture. There will also be opportunities for artists to create site-specific works. The policy as a whole has been formulated through the municipal parks department to create a framework for the evolution of artistic development in Whistler and to provide a coherent approach to public art in the community. Council asked the parks department to develop the policy so there would be a clear path to follow in all matters artistic. One component of the adopted purpose is a strategy on dealing with donated works. So has this prompted a rash of donated nude statues? "There have been suggestions," says parks planner Kevin McFarland. "That's why council wanted a policy in place." The Public Art Program is also involved in Whistler's Village Enhancement Strategy. This project seeks to "revitalize the Spirit of Whistler Village," and covers accessibility, display and improvement issues as well as art. Proposed public art in this context includes an information kiosk, a way-finding system and integrated site furnishings. The Public Art Committee is also trying to reach out to developers to encourage them to include public art in their constructions. A brochure explaining the whole public art policy is in the pipeline and should be available within the next month or so. One of the next steps towards implementation that the parks department will be taking is a presentation by artist and public art advocate Jack Mackie. "He's a very effective speaker," notes McFarland. "He is known for his advocacy on artwork internationally. He has a collection of slides and is a very articulate speaker. Mackie is a great resource. He can inspire people to pursue public art. "He's based in Seattle, which is a hub for public art. Luckily they are quite close to us. They have such a mature public arts program." The municipality is working alongside the Surrey arts council to bring Mackie up to this area sometime in August.

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