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Who will create our Olympic artistic legacy?

Candidates for $200,000 project cut from 39 submissions to just four, including well-known Coast Salish artist Susan Point

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Artists from as far away as the Philippines and the UK responded to Whistler's call for submissions for a Games Legacy Art Project, which was issued in mid-June. In total, 39 submissions were received, featuring a wide range of concepts and mediums.

"We defined potential sites around the Great Lawn and beyond that, we didn't tell them what the theme needed to be and we didn't tell them what the medium needed to be," said Kevin McFarland, Parks Planner for the Resort Municipality of Whistler. "So we basically gave artists a lot of free rein, because we want the best art that we can get."

Those 39 submissions have been narrowed down to four artists and artistic teams that have been short-listed and asked to complete a second stage of competition.  The final four are: Aoife Cleary + Kevin Cleary and Associates; Paul Harder and Nathan Scott; Susan Point; and Bruce Voyce.

Aoife Cleary is a Whistler-based architect/artist who has developed Come Together As One, a project centred around an interactive, lighting-oriented concept. Originally from Ireland, Cleary would use her family's lighting engineering design firm in Ireland to make her artistic vision a reality.

Paul Harder and Nathan Scott's proposal features figurative sculptures and interpretive information in a bronze composition called Keeping The Inspiration Alive.

Coast Salish contemporary artist Susan Point has proposed another bronze piece, called Circles In Time, featuring a composition of carved faces cast in bronze.

Finally, Bruce Voyce has developed plans for Powder Pavilion, a pergola structure that includes light and sound features.

McFarland wasn't able to provide sketches or plans of the proposed projects, as the unsuccessful candidates may want to submit their concepts to another competition, and as such, would want to keep their plans confidential.

These artists have invested a significant amount of time and energy into getting their proposals to this point. A total of $10,000 from the overall $200,000 budget was set aside to help artists develop more detailed proposals, which include a "maquette" or scale model of their design. All four teams were brought to the plaza to get a sense of how their projects would fit with the overall site and to give them a chance to adjust the placement of their piece on one of four potential locations.

"In that site, we're going to have various artifacts of the Games; the Agitos and the rings are there, our cauldron comes back, and this thing is going to be basically a very different take on the Games experience," McFarland explained.

"It is more about the expression: what is the feeling that the artist had based on that experience? Some are more literal. For example, Paul and Nathan's actually has interpretive information about the Games experience, while Susan's is more her enthusiasm and her own experience of the Games, and its more about the world coming together... so its very expressionistic."

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