A vibrant landscape design chosen by the Chilliwack public art advisory committee will be wrapped around the giant silos of the Molson Coors Brewery later this spring.
Out of 22 artwork submissions received at city hall for the silo project, the committee managed to whittle it down to a short-list of three.
From there the committee picked ‘Gifts of Nature’ by artist Silvana Kulyk, as its top choice, inspired by the three colours of the Molson Coors logo: yellow, red, and blue.
The selection was made after a “four-stage selection process” by the committee, and approved by council in the amount of $5,500 on Tuesday (March 15).
“I think we’ve come up with something that will just look incredible,” said Coun. Sue Knott, who co-chairs the committee.
But she also told council she wanted to address the silo project, and their process.
“Contrary to what you might hear the trolls say on social media, we do pay the artists,” Knott said.
She was countering some online criticism of “intellectual theft” levelled at the last public art procurement process. It saw British artist Patrick Murphy commissioned to produce the colourful birds project for Chilliwack and was installed recently on the clock tower at Five Corners.
“We do have a very democratic system for selection of projects,” Knott said.
She noted that “this particular piece is an odd one for us” since they don’t usually approve public art projects on private property. But they went ahead with the silo project in partnership after Molson Coors agreed to having a 33-foot wrap around the massive silos at their highway-adjacent site.
Committee co-chair Coun. Harv Westeringh thanked the committee members, several of whom are artists, for their “expertise and professionalism,” adding that he’s looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be the tallest public art project in the city at 33 feet high, and it’s going to kind of be the gateway to the city, connecting north and south, and the Rail Trail,” Westeringh said.
The original call for entries stated the art should be landscape oriented “highlighting the Fraser Valley,” and include images of hops, water or possibly barley, since that’s what will be inside the Molson silos. But in the end they recommended a switch, swapping out the barley for corn stalks or berries, as products that are actually grown in Chilliwack.
“The Chilliwack Public Art Advisory Committee chose Silvana Kulyk’s ‘Gifts of Nature’ as the top selection as it was felt the submission was vibrant, symmetrical, displayed motion and perspective, tells a story, and represents Chilliwack,” according to the staff report in the March 15 council agenda.
The committed suggested some modifications for the winning design, which were approved:
• The grain be changed to a cornstalk
• The hops be a lighter shade of green
• The dark bottom of the renderings be lightened to provide a stronger contrast
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