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Iconic public art on New West waterfront can’t be saved



Wow Westminster’s time on New Westminster’s waterfront is coming to an end.

A public art installation by Brazilian artist José  Resende,  Wow Westminster was erected in Westminster Pier Park in November 2015 as part of the Vancouver Biennale. The 140-foot-long piece consists of four 40-foot shipping containers positioned to form a giant W.

Blair Fryer, the city’s director of economic development and communications, said fire and engineering staff have met with engineering consultants and determined the W can’t be saved.

“They have concluded that we cannot safely remove the W,” he told the Record Wednesday afternoon. “It will be dismantled and removed.”

Fryer said the challenges associated with saving the public art installation are too large to overcome. This includes the extensive damage to the wharf on which the W stands.

“The other issue is the connection points from the W to the surface of timber wharf have been significantly damaged due to the fire,” he said. “Therefore, it simply cannot be removed in one piece in a safe manner, so it is going to have to be dismantled and taken down.”

Fire Chief Tim Armstrong addressed questions about the fate of the W at Monday’s council meeting. He said fire and city officials had met with the engineer and contractor who were involved in the original installation of the public art installation, as well as Fraser River Pile and Dredge.

“One of the things that we are concerned about is the area underneath the W is the most heavily damaged area to the pier,” he said of the fire that broke out in Westminster Pier Park on Sunday night. “If we can at all think of a way to remove the W without putting any workers at risk, we will do our best to try and achieve  that but, at point right now, I’m not comfortable putting any personnel directly on the pier.”

Armstrong said the city would explore whether a large crane would be able  to lift the W from the pier as a unit, but that could be an issue as it’s bolted down to timber beams that are covered in asphalt.

“We are going to do the best we can to salvage it,” he said Monday, “but again, I don’t want to put anybody’s life at risk because the pier is quite compromised at that portion.”

Fryer said it’s been confirmed that the space where the W is located is too unsafe to allow any personnel on site.

“It’s a challenging operation given the fire damage and the size of the installation itself,” he said. “It’s a significant engineering challenge. It’s simply not able to be safely removed.”

Fryer said the focus will be dismantling the structure in pieces, while preventing as much of it as possible from falling into the river.

When Wow Westminster was erected on the waterfront, it was considered the largest outdoor public art installation in Canada. The containers were used in the installation to reflect the city’s history as a hub of shipping, industry and transportation in B.C.

“Containers circulate in abundance and are an integral part of the urban landscape of New Westminster,” Resende said in a 2015 press release. “Their presence is an evident index of the city’s vitality.”

While some council members and citizens weren’t keen about the Wow Westminster public art, it’s gone on to become one of the most iconic and photographed spaces in the city.


Source: – The Record (New Westminster)

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New Downtown Public Art to Support #MississaugaMade – City of Mississauga – City of Mississauga



Those travelling through Mississauga will notice new public art in the form of light pole banners stretched throughout the City’s downtown core.  This temporary installation by Mississauga-born artist and illustrator, Pranavi Suthagar, celebrates Mississauga’s diversity and cultural identity.

Much of 2020 has been spent reacting and adapting to a new reality brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new street banner public art also helps to promote local businesses, products, artists and activities through the City of Mississauga’s #MississaugaMade online initiative developed by Tourism Mississauga.

“Being born and raised in Mississauga, I am grateful to be a part of this campaign,” said artist Pranavi Suthagar, who was commissioned by the City’s Public Art Program to create new artwork for the Mississauga Made campaign. “I remember seeing all colourful banners decorating the city growing up and I always wondered who created them. To be selected for this campaign, and given the opportunity to share my perspective on how I view the city is a full circle experience.”

“Tourism Mississauga is very proud to be a part of this year’s street banner campaign, in collaboration with the City’s Public Art Program. Not only are the banners a great way to show our support within the community, but they also offer us an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the work of a local artist”, said Tej Kainth, Manager of Tourism Mississauga. “Mississauga Made is a campaign that supports all our local businesses and the arts, and we encourage residents and visitors alike to join the movement and support our local talents, and all Mississauga has to offer.”

The street art was installed on Friday, Oct. 16 and will remain on the following streets until mid-January 2021:

  • Living Arts Drive
  • Duke of York Boulevard
  • Prince of Wales Drive
  • Princess Royal Drive

“Mississauga Made is a great local initiative that supports our small business community. During these difficult times, more than ever, we need to stand together and support our entrepreneurs and our local businesses”, said Bonnie Brown, Director of Economic Development Office.  “During the month of October, the City has been celebrating Small Business Month, and the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre continues to offer free webinars and events to celebrate entrepreneurship and help people start and grow their business.”

The next time you visit Mississauga’s downtown, take a closer look at this important artwork and reflect on your own connection to Mississauga.

Media Contact:

Bryan Sparks
Advisor, Communications
T 905-615-3200 ext.3253

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How travel restrictions are impacting art – The Globe and Mail



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Art galleries on the brink as pandemic lays waste to plans –



By Barbara Lewis and Will Russell

MUDDLES GREEN, England (Reuters) – This was to have been the year that an art gallery deep in the southern English countryside took the United States by storm with exhibitions of the extraordinary Lee Miller, a 1920s fashion model, surrealist and World War Two photographer.

Filming for a biopic starring Kate Winslet was also meant to have begun at Farleys House in Muddles Green, where the American-born Miller recovered from documenting the horrors of war and entertained guests including Pablo Picasso and fellow surrealist photographer and her former lover Man Ray.

Instead, the pandemic has put almost every plan on hold.

“It’s like a wasteland of tumbleweed,” said Ami Bouhassane, Miller’s granddaughter.

She curates the Miller archive with her father, Antony Penrose, Miller’s son with the surrealist artist Roland Penrose.

COVID-19 has compounded the uncertainty created by Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU), with a transition period ending on Dec. 31. That has left galleries anxious about how complicated it might become to stage shows and transport artworks abroad.

For more than a decade, Farleys House and Gallery has averaged four international exhibitions a year, loaned mostly around Europe, accounting for roughly a third of its revenue. Other income comes from rights relating to the 60,000 negatives in the Miller archive and from visitors to Muddles Green.

This year, it was planning on seven and to expand into the United States as part of a strategy to cope with Brexit. Two have gone ahead – one in Germany, traditionally one of its most important markets, and another in non-EU Switzerland.

A third show, intended for Europe, is being shown instead to Farleys’ trickle of socially-distanced visitors, while the other exhibitions are in storage.

Such problems are shared to varying degrees by art institutions great and small as visitor numbers no longer justify large-scale exhibitions and planning is fraught.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entirety of the arts and culture sector,” said Arts Council England in an email. The body is helping to administer a government 1.57 billion pound ($2.04 billion) Culture Recovery Fund.

London’s Wallace Collection, which includes works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Titian, has also seen a 90% fall in visitors and has deferred exhibitions to next year.

“Financially it doesn’t make sense to do blockbuster shows at the moment,” Xavier Bray, director of the museum, told Reuters.

Commercial revenue from events, a shop and restaurant has dropped by 1.5 million pounds and the museum faces “a massive deficit” this year, Bray said. “Any help is going to be crucial to the survival of institutions like the Wallace Collection.”

($1 = 0.7717 pounds)

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis in Muddles Green and Will Russell in London; additional reporting by Gerhard Mey and Carolyn Cohn,; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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