Online is a joint initiative between Markham Public Art and the Varley Art Gallery of Markham. It delves into the potential of public art production and social engagement in the digital sphere. Driving it is the central question: Can this time of uncertainty be productive? Can it be an opportunity for us to pause and reflect, to reshape and imagine new public spatial relationships, whether built or natural, virtual or physical? Arising directly from the City Council-approved Markham Public Art Master Plan 2020-2024, Online explores the multiple factors that steer the making of public art—how artworks find their sites and become public.
Unfolding over the summer of 2020, Online consists of two parts: a practical webinar series on public art titled Homework, and an online competition for speculative public art proposals titled Delimit. The entire initiative is hosted on and distributed by a publicly available network of digital platforms.
Co-produced with public art consulting firm ART+PUBLIC UnLtd, Homework explores the practical knowledge needed to conceive and produce public art projects, while focussing specifically on three themes: forms of rendering, proposal design, and materiality and fabrication. A variety of professionals working in the discipline will be participating, including Chloe Catan, Marcin Kedzior, Vivian Lee, Jason Lujan, Catherine Machado, Myfanwy MacLeod, David Rokeby, and David Turnbull, with more names to be announced soon.
The interface of Delimit is multifold. It starts with an open call for site submissions from the public. Using virtual maps and street views, participants are asked to submit ideas for sites in Markham where they want to see public art happen. Partly a tutorial, partly an artist talk, Colin Miner will speak about his use of online technologies while exploring Ken Lum’s public artworks around the world. Next, a competition will invite professional artists to anonymously submit speculative public art concepts. Artists will choose a site from submissions made by the public and the production team. From these proposals, a jury composed of leading professionals in the field will select a shortlist of ten projects. Each of the ten artists will receive $1,000 to further develop their idea into renderings, as a way to analyze the site and test the proposed form of rendering. The competition will conclude with each jury member announcing their personal favourite of the ten projects, and sharing the reasons behind their choice.
All Delimit site submissions, proposal ideas, and renderings, will be made available to the public through social media, employed here as a virtual, activated public space for participation and exchange.
Online is on. Mark your calendar and stay tuned.
A Digital Initiative for Public Art
A Practical Webinar Series on Public Art
June 22, 24, 26, 2020
An Online Competition for Speculative Public Art Proposals
June 11-August 10, 2020
Organizers: Anik Glaude and Yan Wu
Homework Co-producer: Rebecca Carbin
Delimit Consultant: Catherine Dean
Graphic Designer: Chris Lee
Technology Coordinator: Lucia Wallace
Copy Editor: Rosemary Heather
Markham Public Art
Markham’s Public Art Program was first initiated in 2003 and formalized in 2012. Since 2013, five permanent artworks have been commissioned through the program, with two more currently in progress. In addition, the program has facilitated a series of community art initiatives in collaboration with the City’s Public Realm section. In the fall of 2019, Markham City Council approved its Public Art Master Plan 2020-2024, and a related Implementation Plan in winter 2020. The objectives of the program are to inspire people to live, work, visit, and invest in Markham; to celebrate the city’s diverse cultures and heritage from multiple points of view; and to connect residents to Markham’s built and natural environment.
The Varley Art Gallery of Markham remains closed to the public due to the spread of COVID-19.