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Upping Whistler’s art factor

Checking in on the community’s public arts projects

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James Smith has also been commissioned to complete the next phase of the Valley Trail Neighbourhood project, which will see the installation of the Three Ravens, sculptures fashioned from recycled bike tires, near the Whistler Golf Course's halfway hut.

Smith has already carved the core of each of the sculptures, and on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, as part of the Whistler Art Council's Street Entertainment program, he will enlist the help of the public in "feathering" his creations at the Whistler Gazebo. The completed pieces will then be installed the following Monday.

The second annual competition for the Poets Pause Valley Trail project has also come to a close, and two artists have been commissioned through the anonymous submission process. Whistler's Pam Barnsley was selected for a second year, while a poet from Pheonix, Arizona, Sheila Murphy, was also successful in the competition.

"By virtue of putting anything on the web... the world sees stuff from Whistler, and it surprises us, because it's a $200 commission - it's not exactly a big commission, but it's obviously intriguing to folks, because we had submissions from London, England, and New York City," McFarland said with a laugh.

An opening ceremony for this installation of Poet's Pause will take place at Alta Lake Park on Saturday, July 25.

And there are more public art opportunities just around the corner.

The Public Art Committee will soon be on the hunt for an artist to create a sensory, tactile experience at the future park, plaza and playground at Celebration Plaza.

The RMOW has also allocated $200,000 for a Games legacy art project, which is slated to take place both during and after the Games. The Committee hopes to secure an artist to experience the Games and represent that experience after the Games.

"That's part of the Games fund, so that we actually have our own story told," McFarland said.

McFarland is pleased with the range of public artwork that has recently been completed and points out that there are a bunch of projects on the way, courtesy of other organizations like VANOC and the Whistler Arts Council.

On top of the municipality's public art projects, the Whistler Arts Council has been working with the Squamish and Lil'wat Nations to create a collaborative art project called "Connections," which will be installed by the covered bridge between the village and upper village. They're hoping to receive a grant to create a sculptural legacy for the 2010 Winter Olympics through the Arts Partners for Creative Development agency and are expecting to receive a decision on their application later this month.

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