City-Wide Public Art Program


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The City of Vaughan is happy to announce it’s City-Wide Public Art Program. The purpose of the City-Wide Public Art Program is to provide a guiding framework, public art policies, and establish a public art process that will maximize opportunities for public art in the City of Vaughan. As an arts major myself, I am a firm believer that the Arts plays an integral role in shaping the character of any community. The Arts keeps history alive, offers outlets for social commentary, and encourages education through creativity.

What is Public Art? 

There are many different elements to public art. Public Art is art that:

  • is physically or visually accessible,
  • is on public and private lands,
  • is created by or in collaboration with artists,
  • has aesthetic qualities,
  • is context specific,
  • can be a variety of media,
  • may be permanent or temporary, and
  • has been selected, commissioned or acquired in a process supported by the principle and methods off the City of Vaughan’s Public Art Program

Types of Public Art

There are three main types of public art that should be considered based on the unique requirements and characteristics of the site identified for public art. This means that the characteristics of a location and/or environment where the piece of art will be displayed, influences the design and how it is categorized.

1.) Independent Sculpture or Discrete Element:

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-A piece designed to represent a concept or an element independently
-Examples include Flower Power by Mark Di Suevero, Toronto ON and Shadows by Jaume Plensa, Montreal QC

2.) Site Specific:

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-A piece that is designed for a specific site; the site influences/inspires the design of the piece
-Examples include Liquid Echo by Catherine Widgery, Toronto ON and Transit Story by Jill Anholt, Calgary AB

3.) Integrated

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-A piece that is designed around a pre-existing environment so that it may be incorporated into that site
-Examples include Forest Walker by Ed Pien, Toronto ON and Snake Path by Alex Smith, San Diego CA

The City of Vaughan has a vision…

The City-Wide Public Art Program provides a guiding framework that will maximize opportunities to create public art that enhances community identity, builds civic pride, orients visitors and celebrates local and national talent. By animating the City’s public realm in ways that contribute to Vaughan’s growing identity as a dynamic, walkable, “city of choice,” public art fosters a vibrant community life that is inclusive, progressive, sustainable and expresses the unique character of Vaughan.

Opportunities for Public Art in Vaughan

With the City of Vaughan expanding, there are many areas of opportunity for Public Art. These opportunities include:

  1. Downtown – Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
  2. Primary and Local Centres
  3. Major Parks, Open Space and Trails
  4. Cite-Wide Public Institutions
  5. Intensification Corridors and Gateways
  6. Heritage Conservation Districts
  7. Private Development Sites

Fostering Community Engagement

In order to create a City-Wide Public Art Program, the City of Vaughan would need to develop and implement a plan that would foster community engagement. The City of Vaughan aims to foster community engagement when selecting Public Art and locations around the city by:

  1. Community Based Public Art Projects
  2. Temporary Public Art
  3. Ideas Competitions
  4. Celebration and Landmarks
  5. Engaging Visitors

Next steps in creating Public Art

Moving forward, City staff will need to review and amend terms of reference for the Design Review Panel and develop terms of reference for the Public Art Advisory Committee while preparing guidelines for the public art and maintenance reserves for deliberation in the 2017 budget process. Once these terms of reference have been reviewed, amended and developed, staff will then need to explore a pilot community based art project. As this program moves forward, my office will continue to keep you informed via e-newsletter, blog and my website.

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