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Artist selected for Carlisle Street Public Art project

Posted on Wednesday October 24, 2018
Artist selected for Carlisle Street Public Art project.pdf

A metal sculpture inspired by the Two Row Wampum belt has been chosen for the City’s new permanent public art display outside the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre on Carlisle Street.

City Council was unanimous in selecting Lily Otasevic and her design ‘Curtain Call’ for the Carlisle Street Public Art project. Otasevic, from East York, will have a budget of $75,000 to fabricate and install her work of art – a painted aluminum sculpture of colourful oversized beads that follow a wavy shape similar to a wampum belt. The sculpture will be installed on the wall of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and will become part of the City’s art collection.

“The Two Row Wampum Belt, which was my original point of departure, is an element that embodies historical and contemporary context of the City of St.  Catharines,” said Otasevic. “It's important because it successfully reflects what St. Catharines was and is about - cultural diversity, respect, togetherness, shared future goals.”

Curtain Call was chosen from four designs submitted from a shortlist of artists who are highly respected in Ontario. Otasevic has also completed several public art projects, both indoor and outdoor, in other communities, including Waterloo, Burlington, Toronto and Pickering. Otasevic’s focus of interest is in cultural diversity and ecological themes.

“We wanted something that was engaging and contributes to the identity and character of the area,” said Kathleen Powell, acting supervisor for cultural services at the City. “We had a very high calibre of talent answer the call and Lily’s sculpture will add a vibrant and thoughtful piece of public art to what’s become a major cultural hub in St. Catharines.

“It’s going to add more depth to the conversations in our community relating to cultural diversity, truth and reconciliation and the impact of the arts on community revitalization.”

The artist will begin fabricating the artwork this fall with installation expected in the spring.

“The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre has made its mark in St. Catharines and this new public art commission will further animate our building and downtown as the vibrant arts destination that it is,” said Steve Solski, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre executive director. “We’ve been saying it since we opened and it’s true: the arts really do live here.”

Curtain Call was recommended to City Council by a panel made up of members of the local Indigenous community, the City’s Public Art Advisory Committee and staff from the City and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

The project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage Canada 150 Program as a legacy component of Celebration of Nations. The project is also funded through the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre’s public art reserve.

In 2017, the City issued a nation-wide call to artists to Canadian and Indigenous artists and creative teams for one of the largest public art projects it has ever commissioned. The history of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre site was to be considered within the design, including the use of St. Paul Street by Niagara’s First Peoples, the role of the second Welland Canal and as a past and present venue for theatre. Artists were asked to explore the themes of storied lands, meeting place and harmony within the context of performing and expressive arts.

Celebration of Nations was created as an Indigenous arts gathering to celebrate the diversity, creativity and resilience of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. The first annual gathering took place in September 2017. Celebration of Nations will continue as part of a long-term vision of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, Kakekalanicks and the City of St. Catharines to build on the philosophy of the Two Row Wampum that promotes all Nations walking together, in parallel, with respect, compassion and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community for a shared future.

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