The project is a personal exploration of public art in Vancouver consisting of an essay and a DVD comprising three documentaries. Each episode refers to a different question in the paper: What is public art? What is its relationship to where it is situated? What is the process by which it is commissioned in a civic public art program? Artists, curators, and bureaucrats involved in the commission and installation of public art in Vancouver are interviewed; one project’s construction is followed to completion. Public art, whether civic or private-sector funded, can be defined as much by its relationship to a site as by its various categorizations, e.g. place-specific, site-specific. Offering local identity, opportunities for dialogue, and creative interpretations of a city’s history and culture, Vancouver’s public art contends with several challenges, e.g. available land, the value placed on views. Temporary installations and ephemeral art events can resolve some contentious issues.
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