A big ‘Splash’ in Guildford

Did you know the City of Surrey has public art? Seriously, we do. There is a committee, a co-ordinator and everything. You can take a walk about guided by places of public art.

I will admit, not everyone understands the pineapple atop a post in Green Timbers, but there it is. Public art. If you want to know more about the Surrey Public Art Program, check out the website Surrey.ca/publicart and send your comments to publicart@surrey.ca. Of note, Anita Green is the city’s public art co-ordinator.

Not familiar with any of our public art installations? You can be at the unveiling of Surrey’s newest public art, dubbed "Splash," during opening celebrations of the new Guildford Aquatic Centre. This event is Saturday, May 30 starting at noon, with a ribbon-cutting at 1:30 p.m. The mayor, councillors, and members of the city’s Public Art Advisory Committee will be in attendance, along with New York-based artist Michael Krondl, who will give a talk about his "Splash" immediately following the opening event (2 p.m. start in the senior’s room, second floor of the rec centre, 15105 105th Ave.).

"Splash" features an enormous photograph of water, printed on 14 glass panels using ceramic pigments and fired like pottery glaze. The artwork,

which is 5.5 metres high and 10.5 metres wide, is very visible outside the new aquatic centre, thus the designation "public." Everyone passing by will see it. At night, it glows a little.

Although Krondl is not a local artist, his design was selected in a competition involving 94 artists from Canada and abroad. For one, Coun. Judy Villeneuve, chair of the public art advisory committee, welcomes this iconic addition to Surrey’s stable of public art.

I encourage your input. Do you like "Splash"? Uncertain? Is this a plus for the city or does it make a difference to you at all? Since it is public art, the public ought to make some effort in showing appreciation (or other comments) to the committee in charge. Have a say in your city.

Meanwhile, local photographer Tony Westman asks the question, "What is this place?" on Thursday, June 4 as part of the Thursday Artist Talk series at Surrey Art Gallery. You’re invited to help imagine the future of Surrey by looking at Westman’s images of its past and present. His coming exhibit, "Becoming Surrey: Journey through the

Invisible City," (which opens May 23) illustrates this area as a wonderful and complicated place that is searching for understanding, direction and identity. That last phrase came right out of the press release and I couldn’t have said it better myself – so I didn’t.

At the June 4 event, there will be time for questions and conversation during and following the talk, which begins at 7:30 and concludes by 9 p.m. Refreshments are provided. This event is presented by Surrey Art Gallery Association in partnership with the Surrey Art Gallery, and with support from the Arts Council of Surrey.

Surrey Art Gallery Association (SAGA) is a non-profit society that offers its members the opportunity to participate in, and respond to, contemporary art, and be part of a community that actively supports Surrey Art Gallery. This is another avenue you can follow to support, create and be part of the art in Surrey.

You have plenty of time to catch Westman’s exhibit, as it runs until February.

melminty@telus.net

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