The City’s Public Art Program was established through a 1997 Council resolution. The goal of program is to culturally enrich public spaces, in line with Imagine Kelowna and the future vision of our city. Public art plays an important role in shaping both the collective identity and personal experience of our city.
Our public art collection
Our collection currently includes over 70 public artworks located throughout Kelowna, with a diverse mix of installations:
- Large iconic pieces such as Spirit of Sail and Bear sculptures along the downtown waterfront
- Pieces located throughout our community such as Run, Escape to Stella Polaris, On the Beach and the recently added From Within
- Smaller, more intimate pieces such as Spirit of Kelowna and A Quiet Beauty Assumes Our Valley located within City-owned buildings
- Street art, such as murals and banners, integrated into our streetscapes
- Civic monuments such as the Cenotaph, Coming Home and Tradition of Service
View public art
Artwork is created specifically to be located in a public space and accessible to everyone. We encourage you to experience our public art collection first-hand. You can also view our public art collection:
The Public Art Program operates through an annual City budget of $130,000. The Program supports numerous initiatives:
- Commissioning of civic public art in existing locations and as part of new capital projects
- Grant funding support for community art administered through the City’s Cultural Services department
- Exhibitions of temporary art in public spaces curated by organizations outside the City
A Public Art update is presented to Council outlining all active and proposed projects and funding initiatives.
When a public art component is considered for a new capital project, the feasibility is reviewed and appropriateness of incorporating a site-specific integrated public artwork. Funding can be included within the capital project’s budget or partially funded from the Public Art Reserve. The amount of the reserve supplement is determined by Council on a project-by-project basis.
The Community Art Grant Program is a sub-program within the Public Art Program and administered through Cultural Services. 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. The process is just as important as the artistic product or outcome. The creative process allows the community to creatively express its needs and aspirations.
Non-profit organizations that operate within Kelowna, as well as individual, groups or collectives of local professional artists, are eligible to apply for a community grant. Visit Cultural grants for application information.
The Public Art Program encourages public art through funding support to organizations - such as the Kelowna Art Gallery - to curate, create and temporarily exhibit artwork in high-profile, publicly accessible locations. The goal of the initiative is to broaden the scope and appeal of the Public Art Program by:
- Helping animate Kelowna’s public spaces through a constantly changing and continuing variety of art installations that will add a dynamic element to Kelowna’s urban environment
- Enhancing the Public Art Program’s profile by providing opportunities for emerging and established local, national and international artists to feature work through temporary projects
- Promoting a greater appreciation for contemporary public art practices
- Helping to foster a sense of community through the sharing of common experiences focusing on public art
Proposals are to be submitted to the City’s Public Art Coordinator for evaluation and selection. Only one proposal per year will be selected based on the proposal’s merit. Artwork is expected to remain on display for a minimum of six months and no longer than 12 months.
The City has adopted a two-stage selection process. The first stage is a request for qualifications in which artists are asked to submit examples of their past work and provide a brief written statement outlining their experience, background and interest relevant to the public art opportunity.
A jury comprised of members from the Public Art Roster will shortlist up to five artists to participate in submitting a concept proposal for a new artwork as part of the second stage. A final artist will be determined by the same jury based on the merit of their proposal, with remaining artists receiving an honorarium for their efforts.
In specific circumstances and locations, the City may choose to sole source a particular artist for the commission, and will do so in collaboration with the Public Art Roster.