Civic Art Collection

Curtain Call by L. Otasevic

The City of St. Catharines' Civic Art Collection

The City of St. Catharines owns approximately 500 works of art and cultural property that are the direct responsibility of the City's Cultural Services office in the Community, Recreation and Culture Services department. This includes fine art, photos, outdoor art and war memorials, significant plaques and the historic Charles I.D. Looff/Marcus Illions carved wooden animals at the Lakeside Park Carousel. The City of St. Catharines has spent more than ten years inventorying, cataloguing and managing this diverse collection.

The Civic Art Collection plays an important role in creating access for residents to art and cultural property that honours our cultural identity as a community. It is a complex collection, with over 100 years of acquisition, and only a decade of formal management practice. First inventoried in 2002, the art collection saw its first management-related policy, the Public Art Policy, approved in 2003, along with a new Committee of Council, the Public Art Advisory Committee, to provide support for the collection as well as for acquisitions. 

 Where to find works from the Collection


Works from the Civic Collection are displayed throughout the City. Below is a list of some of the locations to explore the collection further:


Since 2007 the Public Art Advisory Committee has begun selecting artwork from contemporary artists for inclusion in the Civic Art Collection, most notably from the Annual Juried Exhibit featuring local artists. The Public Art Advisory Committee is currently working to formalize an acquisition process, address community-initiated projects and move forward with new public art projects.

 Most Recent Acquisition


Jon Shaw This Way


Image: Shaw, Jon, “This Way”, ink and acrylic on wood, 2019.


Annually the Public Art Advisory Council has the opportunity to add to the Civic collection by way of purchasing a piece of art from the Annual Juried Exhibit. In 2019 the piece “This Way”, from Jon Shaw, was selected.

Jon Shaw is a visual artist who born and raised in St. Catharines, subsequently leaving to pursue his education and then relocating to Vancouver. He returned to St. Catharines in September 2018 and has since presented solo exhibitions at Mahtay Café and the Niagara Artists Centre. He has also facilitated community art engagements as part of the In the Soil and Culture Days Festivals. His current body of work documents the devolution of the former General Hospital on Queenston Street. The piece “This Way” was among the first of this series and is currently part of the juried exhibition “Transformations”, presented at City Hall.

The artist describes the process: “Documenting the hospital’s external metamorphosis is incredibly time-sensitive. Unique arrangements of intertwined detritus, sitting eerily still at the end of each day, reside as temporary additions to the urban landscape. They are present one day but gone the next. Memorializing the ever-changing visage is essential.

Comprised of illustrative ink and acrylic paintings on wood, based on photographs captured every week since January 2019, these pieces memorialize the ongoing transformations both inside and out.”

 “This Way” memorializes the state of the hospital on March 17, 2019. The next day, that particular manifestation of internal and external components had disappeared forever. This piece, along with the rest of the series, continue to encapsulate the overall transformation of the historical icon.

Prospective Donations to the Civic Art Collection

Art Collection Vision Statement
Visually beautiful cities stimulate a sense of pride and commitment. Through its Public Art Policy the City of St. Catharines strives to create vibrant public spaces that reflect the diversity of our community and engage its residents and visitors with quality works of public art.
The City of St. Catharines seeks to encourage all those who care about the community to participate in making art, collecting it and commissioning it. You can do your part by donating to the City's Civic Art Collection.

Other City Collections

In addition to the Civic Art Collection, the City of St. Catharines also maintains a small art collection in the St. Catharines Public Library and a major collection of artifacts and cultural property at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre.

More Info & Staff Contact

For updates on the City of St. Catharines' Civic Art Collection, follow the 
St Catharines Culture Facebook and the St. Catharines Culture Twitter.

Contact Cultural Services Staff at: or 905 688 5601 x 5244



Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines