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City heaps disrespect on Lois Hole

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 06, 2013 06:00 am

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The proverb “There are none so blind as those who won’t see” must certainly apply directly to our mayor, city councillors, and senior city bureaucrats. Each day they enter their place of work passing by Barbara Patterson’s sculpture of Lois Hole, half buried in snow, lost and forgotten to the eyes of those whom we entrust with our art in public places.

It is a bizarre joke that in the City of Botanical Arts, where we Cultivate Life and where the walls of St. Albert Place have signs posted reminding all who enter that they must show mutual respect, that outside of the entrance to our city hall, the work of one of Canada’s leading artists should be so neglected.

One would have thought that the people we entrust with being stewards of our community’s cultural heritage would extend some courtesy to the sculpture that embodies the values many of us think are core to our citizenship in this city. That particular piece of public art tells the story of a remarkable businesswoman who had a passion for children’s literacy and was the embodiment of being a friend to all she met. Lois Hole was our lieutenant-governor. She deserves more respect. And so does the entrance to our public library.

The practice of piling snow around Lois Hole’s sculpture is not a new occurrence. For each the past six years, I have talked privately with senior city officials and councillors about the mistreatment of Barbara Patterson’s sculptures at St. Albert Place. And each year, after making their excuses, some effort has been made to correct the situation. Well, it isn’t working. The time is come to do something permanent.

So it is with profound regret and a feeling of failure that we must ask that the Lois Hole sculpture be moved. Its stewardship needs to be transferred to someone and some place that allows this wonderful piece of Canadian art to be treated with dignity and respect. Or will we be subjected to a city government, which continues to be “deaf because it won’t hear’.’”

Dr. Alan Murdock, St. Albert


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