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Susan Point picked for Olympic art legacy project



After weeks of careful consideration, the Resort Municipality of Whistler has finally announced that renowned Coast Salish artist Susan Point has been selected as the successful artist for the community's $190,000 Olympic public art project, which will be installed in Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Her concept, entitled "A Timeless Circle," reflects Point's experience with the 2010 Winter Games.

"The Olympic and Paralympic Games were so much more than I thought they would be," she said in a recent release. "The experience has and will always be a source of inspiration for me. Seeing many nations coming together to celebrate was incredibly moving and is the inspiration for this piece."

The bronze sculpture will feature 86 carved faces, representing each of the nations that were present in Whistler during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Five double-sided solid segments will be cast and mounted, creating a circular form that is inspired by the traditional Coast Salish spindle whorl. The completed piece will be installed in Whistler Olympic Plaza between the Olympic Rings and the playground in 2011.

"We are very pleased with the process that led to selection of A Timeless Circle," Kevin McFarland, RMOW Parks Planner, said in the release. "We were very impressed with the thought and creativity the four finalists put into the final stage of the competition process. Moving forward, we are very excited to be working with Susan Point."

Thirty-nine proposals were submitted to the RMOW and a jury selected four finalists to further develop their concepts for a second stage of proposals. While all four submissions brought a truly unique and creative approach to public art in Whistler, after much debate, "it was clear that Susan's concept was most suited to Whistler in evoking the coming together of people for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games," the release read.

The $190,000 art commission is being funded through the Province of B.C.'s Resort Transfer Tax initiative through the Games Office budget, which enables the municipality to invest in resort and tourism amenities.

Point, a member of the Musqueam First Nation, is a world-renowned artist with major installations at the Vancouver International Airport, Vancouver Convention Centre and Christ Church Cathedral, as well as exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver Art Gallery and Canadian Museum of Civilization. She has also had exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. In 2006, she was awarded the Order of Canada. She also holds Honourary Doctorates from the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the Emily Carr University of Art + Design . In 2000, she was named the YMCA Woman of Distinction and bestowed with the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for achievement in Visual Arts.

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