Outdoor Art paints the life and history of a community and can be found on streetlamps, fences, in parks on the sides of buildings and in a host of other surprising places. The artwork includes sculptures, murals, banners, plays and more.
Outdoor Art in St. Catharines
The City of St. Catharines owns and manages a collection of outdoor art and cultural property which is supported by guidance from the Public Art Advisory Committee. Additional outdoor art in St. Catharines can be found at Brock University, on the grounds of Rodman Hall Art Centre, on the streets of downtown and on provincial and federal government property.
Some highlights of what you can find in St. Catharines include:
St. Catharines City Hall Sculpture Program
Recognizing the need for more public art in the landscape of St. Catharines, the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) has launched a sculpture exhibition program to install works of art on the James St. lawn at City Hall. The inaugural exhibit, Circle of Friends by Rod Dowling was installed in 2007 for temporary display. The loan was a trial to stimulate awareness of the relationship between art and public spaces. The response from residents was encouraging and the PAAC decided to continue the program, with the possibility of future growth to other City sites.
In February of 2012 The City of St. Catharines invited Expressions of Interest, open to all Canadian artists, to assist the St. Catharines' Public Art Advisory Committee in selecting an existing work for temporary display on the side lawn of City Hall. Work was encouraged that responded aesthetically to the site, taking into consideration its context within the city and/or its architectural configuration.
On August 13, 2012 St. Catharines City Council approved the committee's recommendation to install Kernel Memory by artist Laura Moore. The work was installed on the James Street lawn October 2, 2012 and will remain for a minimum of two years.
Submissions were reviewed by a selection committee consisting of representatives from the Public Art Advisory Committee, City of St. Catharines staff and the local arts community. They utilized the following design considerations to reach their final selection:
Elevates the viewer's awareness by stimulating curiosity, inspiration, reflection, opinion or feeling
Displays a high quality of technical skill, imagination and creativity
Appropriateness of artwork to the site
Will be suitable for all ages
Technical and Financial Feasibility
Centennial Gardens Poster Program
Centennial Gardens was unveiled in 1967 to commemorate Canada's centennial year. The original park included commemorative plaques representing the 12 provinces and territories of the time. These plaques were installed on a concrete wall that surrounds the Totem Pole created by Kwa' Waka' Wak artist Doug Cranmer. The original plaques disappeared years ago but distinct blank rectangles remain.
In 2011 the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) was contacted by a resident suggesting that these spaces could provide an opportunity for a public art project. The Committee worked with the Niagara Artists’ Centre to create the first poster exhibit in the summer of 2012. The result was vibrant contemporary art posters designed by local artists.
Emblemata was the first installation in the Centennial Gardens space in 2012. Artists designed original emblems, logos, and crests that were printed on paper and pasted on the wall in the park. They are fictional emblems relating to the Niagara community, past and present, and range from traditional crests and symbols to modern designs and interactive works.
The exhibit was developed through a public Call to Artists and juried process.
Available on site is a QR scan code. Using a smart phone, viewers can scan the code and get artist statements and other information about the project.
Emblemata Artists: Kim Bell, Trevor Blewett, Julia Blushak, Clare Cameron, Danny Fast, Dennis Faucher, Alexa Fraser, Maggie Groat, Jimmy Limit, Stephen Remus, Donna Szoke and Adam Tisdelle.
St. Catharines' War Memorials
St. Catharines is home to eight War Memorials, dating as far back as 1886. As the Town of Merritton, Village of Port Dalhousie and Grantham Township were incorporated with St. Catharines in 1961, so too did their war memorials. Over the last several years much work has been done to research their history, and to assess and plan for needed repairs. Community support has been strong for the preservation of these Cenotaphs, which honour the men and women who have stood for our freedoms over generations.
The word "cenotaph" means "empty grave," and acknowledges the loss of life that is represented by these stone and metal structures. Several of our War Memorials name those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Others simply and elegantly recognize the conflicts that have been fought by local men and women.
The front doors of City Hall are surrounded by elegant bronze plaques that serve as our Honour Rolls, with the names of men and women who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. Another plaque at City Hall's main entrance commemorates the St. Catharines recipients of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for valour in the British Empire. Private Alexander Watson died during the Northwest Rebellion, and community sentiment was such that funds were raised to erect the figure that now graces the front lawn of City Hall. The oldest monument in the collection, Private Watson also honours those from St. Catharines who were lost in the Second Boer War.
Merritton (Merritt Street) and Port Dalhousie (Ann Street) each have beautiful Cenotaphs built circa 1921, and it is believed their statues were carved by artist Emmanuel Paul. These Cenotaphs have been recent greening projects of the St. Catharines Green Committee and are now surrounded with beautiful, new landscapes. The grounds of Victoria Lawn Cemetery house the Grantham Cenotaph and the Korea Veterans Associations Memorial. Also in the cemetery is the 10th Field Battery R.C.A. Memorial, built circa 1965, and the Royal Canadian Legion's Monument, built in 1990.
The largest monument is the St. Catharines Cenotaph, located in Memorial Park, on what is now referred to as Veterans Way (St. Paul Street West). Unveiled on August 7, 1927, the first wreath was laid by His Royal Highness, Edward, Prince of Wales, who made a brief stop at the ceremony as he travelled through Niagara. At the time, the monument was a tribute to the memory of the 300 St. Catharines men who gave their lives for the British Empire in 1915-1918. Today, it also commemorates World War II, the Korean War, the United Nations Peacekeepers and the Canadian Merchant Navy.
In the fall of 2012 community members saw work begin on two of our memorials: the Port Dalhousie Cenotaph and the St. Catharines Cenotaph. In July 2009, a heritage conservator was hired by the City of St. Catharines to evaluate the condition of these memorials. His report revealed that the St. Catharines Cenotaph is in need of significant restoration. The repair of this Cenotaph is a complicated affair, and this fall a team will temporarily remove its top to review the interior condition of the monument.
Last year, the eagle eyes of Port Dalhousie Legion member Brian Bowman espied space beneath the Port Dalhousie statue, and a quick investigation confirmed that the statue is lifting off its pins and will require re-installing. This work is set to take place this fall, and the Royal Canadian Legion, Port Dalhousie Branch 350, is set to contribute to these repairs, matching a requested grant from the Minister of Veterans Affairs as well as City funds.
The costs to repair the St. Catharines Cenotaph are estimated at $200,000 or more, and to meet this goal, fundraising projects have been underway since 2010. On May 12, 2010 the City of St. Catharines hosted a concert by The Stadacona Band of Canadian Forces Atlantic that celebrated the Canadian Naval Centenary. The concert had over 300 attendees and raised $3,000, thanks to generous contributors in the community. Significant contributions have been made by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 ($10,000) and the Royal Canadian Legion, Polish Branch 418 ($3,000) in support of the Cenotaph's restoration. Other community members have also stepped forward and the total raised to date is $17,000.
These funds will be used to match a grant request to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, as well as funds from the City's capital budget. Community members can expect to hear more about these projects in future. If you're looking for a worthy project for your donations, consider the needs of St. Catharines' historic monuments. Their preservation ensures that Canada's story of valour and sacrifice is shared with future generations.
Niagara HERE is a network of forty sites throughout the Region that show Niagara to tourists and residents in a whole new way. Artists have created location-specific artworks that will be experienced through mobile devices. The digital meets the physical as visitors travel to each location to access artwork that can only be found at the site. The project is part of the Culture Capitals of Canada Niagara 2012 program.
Niagara HERE offers visitors a mobile adventure - they can plan out a route online, pick up a map, or just stumble across a site and enter into the experience. The sites are spread across all twelve Niagara municipalities - there are a number of sites in St. Catharines including: Centennial Gardens, Charles Ansel Park, Downtown St. Catharines and Morningstar Mill.
Check out St. Catharines' downtown urban art scene in The Alley (between James Street and Garden Park Boulevard) with an ever changing vibrant style of art that reflects modern city life.
Take a self-guided tour and enjoy listening to plays by aspiring young playwrights from St. Catharines. Visit the site that inspired the writer and listen to a three-minute play on your mobile phone. There are nine locations in downtown, one at the Lakeside Park Carousel and one at Lock 3. Look for the green ears.