What is the meaning behind the “Sown” public art piece?
Sown stands for the unnamed heroes who shape our community; an ode to the underrepresented who are vital to the fabric of our history but remain largely anonymous. The piece acknowledges a flawed past, and yet from this imperfect past there is new growth. Our shared past has moments of light and darkness. The seeds we sow today, the community we build, the opportunities we make for one another will determine our future. We are all a part of that future.
The name Sown speaks to the opportunity we have in this moment, as individuals and as a collective, to sow the seeds that will provide for the future. Our action and inaction matters. For this reason, when you stand beneath the seed at the heart of Sown and look up, you will see yourself reflected above, a reflection of you in the present impacting the future. This is our privilege and responsibility.
Who are the artists, designers and fabricators?
Artists: Camille Myles & Holly Archer
Technical Designer: Jonathan Killing, Toque Innovations
Fabrication: Michael P. Bilyk, Lafontaine Iron Werks
Where will the piece be located and why?
The artwork will be located on the South-West corner of King Street and Bayshore Drive, in front of the Southern Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce. This site was identified as a gateway location and an ideal location for a public art piece. This intersection connects the harbour and waterfront with the downtown core. It is highly visible to vehicular traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. Visitors to our festivals will be able to view and interact with this art piece, as will tourists and cruise ship passengers.
The funding received for this project was also specific to streetscaping and landscaping improvements to the downtown, our regional economic hub.
What was the selection process for the project?
Once the Town secured the funding through the Rural Economic Development program, it was included in the 2021 budget process. Upon Council’s approval of the budget, the Town issued a Request for Proposals. Guided by the Public Art Policy, a selection committee was composed to review and evaluate the submissions and chose the successful proposal.
Due to the pandemic, the selection committee met virtually to discuss the submissions taking many factors such as strength of the proposal, alignment with the Public Art Policy, the budget, and how the artwork would function in the space, into consideration.
What types of costs are associated with Public Art?
Be is a mural, sculpture or other installation, the costs associated with creating public art include, but are not limited to, materials, fabrication, conceptual and engineer’s drawings, site preparation, installation, insurance, payment to artists, transportation, plaque/informational signage, and future maintenance.
Public Art is treated as infrastructure, providing significant cultural, social and economic benefits to the community and as such, these pieces require extensive planning, consultation, and forethought.
Do artists need to be paid?
Yes. Just as you would pay any professional, such as an accountant or lawyer, you also need to pay artists. In addition to their artistic vision, artists bring years of education and learned experience when creating a work of art.
To learn more about compensating visual artists visit https://www.carfacontario.ca/
How was this project funded?
Sown, the artwork to be installed at King Street and Bayshore Drive, is funded by the Rural Economic Development Program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This grant was received to offset some of the costs associated with the streetscaping and landscaping as part of the King Street Rejuvenation Project. A portion of the funds was specifically dedicated to commissioning one Public Art piece.
I’m not an artist and I don’t understand abstract art...
You don’t need to be an artist to appreciate an abstract work of art. Does it make you wonder what it is and what it represents? Perfect, that’s part of what the artists are hoping will happen. They want you to take a closer look, to find out more about it and what the different elements mean to them. And there is nothing wrong with bringing your own interpretation. Art is subjective and each viewer will have a different response to a work of art. The ongoing interest in abstract art lies in its ability to spark our curiosity, explore corners of our imagination, and the opportunity it presents to create something unique in the world.
Why is Public Art important?
The Town of Midland is dedicated to enhancing arts and culture as an integral part of the community and recognizes Public Art as a key contributor to enhancing and transforming the places where we live, work, learn and play into vibrant, inviting and meaningful public spaces.
Public Art enriches and connects a community by enhancing the area’s unique identity and sense of place in a symbolic and/or creative way to reveal an aspect of the social, natural, physical, and/or historical context of the location.
Public Art is recognized nationally and internationally as a significant tool for building economic development and tourism through the creation of destinations for visitors and residents.
Will the Town be taking on more public art projects in the future?
Yes! Public Art is an investment in community beautification, it’s an investment in employing artists, fabricators and engineers, and it’s an investment in tourism, cultural and economic development. These benefits to our community are of particular importance due to economic challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Together we can make Midland the place to live, visit and explore.
One of Council’s Strategic Priorities for 2018-2022 is a Safe, Sustainable, Healthy Community with the goal to Develop Vibrant Public Spaces and celebrate a beautiful Midland. Public Art is an important component in achieving this priority.