Visual artists have ingeniously transformed bleak stucco walls, plain wood fences and boarded-up storefronts with colourful works of art, often containing powerful messages.
The City of St. Albert already features five murals in its Public Art Collection, and it recognizes these vibrant works not only beautify the environment, but also give artists an opportunity to exhibit their works.
The city is adding a sixth mural to the collection. Through a new call for artists, the city invites all emerging and established visual artists to submit images of original artwork to be displayed as a temporary mural at Fowler Athletic Park.
“There’s a gigantic retaining wall at Fowler Park and it’s a great opportunity for a visual art display,” said Dani Rice, visual arts coordinator for Parks and Recreation.
Artists are invited to submit artwork to be digitally reproduced and attached using PolarGrip, an aggressive form of vinyl adhesive designed for outdoor applications on concrete, brick and machinery.
Fowler Park's retaining wall measures about 1.2 metres (four feet) high by 47.5 m (156 feet) long. The temporary mural will be installed on the wall located at the southeast side of the running track.
“It’s a temporary mural designed to stay up for five years. After that it will be a chance to change and refresh the artwork. Instead of putting money into the conservation of an older work, we can put money in the hands of living artists,” Rice said.
She explains that by mounting a vinyl mural, the competition is open to a greater range of artists. The original artwork can be created using any visual medium: graphic design, photography; painting; drawing; quilting; textile; sculpture, etc.
“We are hoping for a strong image, mostly for safety. It will be next to the running track and people must be able to see it from a distance. We don’t want people walking on the tracks to view it.”
Fowler Park is the city’s first attempt at featuring temporary murals, and Rice hopes more temporary art will be brought into the public realm in future years.
“The wall is somewhat of an odd size, but I’m excited to see how artists will solve it. Artists are problem solvers, and I’m interested to see how people apply their creative choices.”
Artists are permitted to submit up to three digital images of a single piece of original artwork. The city has provided a scaled mural wall template artists can use to fit their digital image. It is online at https://stalbert.ca/site/assets/files/27013/callforartists-fowlerathleticparkmural-template-2023.pdf.
The selected artist will receive $6,000 for their project. Payment includes a creation fee, and CARFAC fees for preparation, consultation and royalties. The City of St. Albert will be responsible for reproducing and installing the mural which includes fabrication and installation.
Submission deadline is Thursday, June 22 at 2 p.m.
The city’s Public Art Collection contains five non-traditional murals painted on different substrates and attached to buildings. The murals include Colour Fields II by Angela Grootelaar, Healthy Communities by Bella Totino-Busby, Tribute to the Sisters of Charity Grey Nuns of St. Albert by Lewis Lavoie, Saturday at the Market by Stan Phelps and Keith Holmes, as well as Cultivate Life by Lewis Lavoie and Mural Mosaic.