Public Art is Taking Off in the Capital

Public Art is Taking Off in the Capital

Quebec City (Quebec) 3 May 2015 – Public art has exploded in Québec City. While the Labeaume administration wanted to add by 2020 some 35 works financed in whole or in part by municipal funds, that the goal has already been achieved in only two years.

“We achieved our goal. But I think we also had some catching up to do, ” said Julie Lemieux, City Councillor for Arts and Culture who lead the project through its political processes in Québec City.  She also noted that this could mean investments in arts would not remain at their current level until 2020, but that she wanted municipal ownership of art to increase by 28%, from 125 to 160 works.

22 artistic works have since been or will be installed in 2015.  Eight other works are planned for 2016 and 2017. Total: 34 sculptures, murals, digital works or installations in front of buildings, in parks or public squares – and not only in the Old City, a broadened focus particularly welcomed by Mme Lemieux.

“We had many works of art, but many were concentrated in the city center. Here, we really brought public art everywhere, all over the city, “she stressed. “People of the suburbs also deserve to embellish their decor and daily lives with works of art.”

It works towards opening up of the boroughs, believes the Councillor, and also helps to make the investments of public money in art better accepted by the population: a subject sometimes “delicate” and criticized.

“Before, every time we announced a work of art, it raised an outcry. But there, in general, I think people see the value and begin to find that normal. One feels a membership,” she said. She recalled that public art is often what marks us during trips abroad. Barcelona, ​​Chicago and Calgary are distinguished by their investments in often amazing works.

The works installed in Québec are diverse, notes Mme Lemieux. Some, she said, are more conventional, while others, like a project by the daring duo Cooke-Sasseville that will be installed this fall at Beauport, promise to be more surprising.  Others, still unknown, already arouse curiosity. First and foremost, one that will eventually be installed in the public square in front of the amphitheater.  With all these new works installed or future, the city will soon release, probably in June, an update of the present works in the capital.

The Labeaume administration also funds the most ephemeral art with the announced return of the Passages in the Old Port.  In February endorsed a grant of 325,000$ was given to EXMURO public arts organization for organizing this open exhibition from July 2nd to November 2nd.

“We delivered”, says Julie Lemieux. “Not only in terms of numbers but also in terms of quality and promotion of public art.”

If art funded by the public is increasing, the call launched in 2013 by Mayor Régis Labeaume to private developers struggled to be heard.

One of the goals of City Hall was indeed to convince building owners to include art work around their buildings. However, except notable exceptions, like Michel Dallaire, the answer is disappointing, admits Julie Lemieux.

“The Dallaire Foundation has made a big step with the work of the Soeurs de la Charité which will be installed on the platform of the Dufferin-Montmorency. They were one of the first to do it,” said Mme Lemieux about a bronze artist Jules LaSalle in which the company Dallaire Group invested 300,000$. A competition was also launched for the Jules-Dallaire building. “Others do it as well and they are not necessarily all announced,” added the Councillor. “But there is still work to do. We would like a stronger response,” she admitted. “If we had to put more efforts on one of the aspects developed in the Vision, this would be it.”

Categories: Arts & Culture

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