Kelowna's Public Art Program
The Public Art Program was established by resolution of Council in 1997. As of November 2013, the Public Art Collection included over 60 installations located throughout Kelowna ranging from murals and banners to sculptures and works integrated into local streetscapes.
The goal of the Public Art Program is to help create culturally-enriched public spaces. More specifically, public art is a key component in the provision of public spaces that are not only safe and comfortable, but also foster a sense of place and an emotional attachment to Kelowna’s urban environment.
The City’s Public Art Collection as well as several other publicly-accessible artworks not owned by the City can be viewed online in the Public Art Brochure or through the mobile-friendly Public Art Tour. Copies of the Brochure can also be found at City Hall, 1435 Water Street, and at Tourism Kelowna as well as the lobbies of various hotels and cultural venues.
The Public Art Program works with the City's annual capital budgeting process. All capital projects considered for implementation in the coming budget year are assessed for feasibility and appropriateness of incorporating a public art piece.
Capital projects can include roads and streets, parks, natural areas and municipal buildings. Public art can be planned as part of the overall design process with the aim of attaining a high degree of integration between artwork and its site or context.
Funding can come from the following sources:
- Up to one per cent of the annual capital budget is set aside by City Council each year towards the funding of public art.
- Unspent funds in any year are rolled into a reserve fund which can be used to help fund large projects.
- Funding for projects can be supplemented by the capital budgets of those projects that have a public art piece. The amount of the supplement is determined by Council on a project-by-project basis.
Evaluation and Selection Process
Once a public art project is identified through the capital budgeting process, a two-stage proposal call is initiated. Typically this involves a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in which artists are asked to submit examples of their work and to describe their idea in response to the RFQ. Artists are notified through advertisements in the local newspaper. Notice of the proposal call is also posted to pertinent websites.
All submissions in response to RFQ's are evaluated by an Artist Selection Panel. Artists who submissions best meet the criteria are invited to participate in the second of the proposal process referred to as a Request for Proposals (RFP).
The evaluation criteria are set out in the RFP document and the artist best meeting the criteria is recommended by the Panel. Enough information must be provided to allow the Artist Selection Panel members to make an informed decision, such as materials, costs and schedule. The chosen artist is subsequently contracted by the City to design, fabricate, deliver and install the artwork.
One of the goals of the program as noted above, is to nurture and recognize local artistic talent. Of the 44 projects funded by the Program, 32 have gone to local artists. This represents 73 per cent of the total commissions. Nine artworks have gone to BC artists outside of Kelowna, two have gone to artists from other Canadian locations and one went to an American artist.
Community Public Art
Community Public Art is a sub-program within the Public Art Program. The aim of the Program is to nurture a collaborative process between practicing artists and the community. It encourages the creation of publicly accessible artworks, fosters community pride and identity, and reflects the diversity of the community. It is as much about process as it is about the artistic product or outcome. Through the creative process the community can creatively express its needs and aspirations.
Non-profit organizations that operate within Kelowna are eligible to apply for a Community Public Art Grant. Visit the Cultural Grants page for application information.
Public Art Coordinator
Tel 250 469-8605