Contributed photo A detail of a rendering of the public art piece, ‘Stande,’ by Victoria artist and landscape architect Illarian Gallant, commissioned by the City of White Rock to recognize decades of contributions by the women of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary.

White Rock councillors speak out on $100,000 art project

A hospital sculpture, paid for by city, draws criticism

Changes to White Rock’s public art policy may be in the wind after the newly elected council took a look at the rendering of the public art piece that is to be installed at Peace Arch Hospital’s McCracken Courtyard.

While council endorsed the project’s management and funding agreement between the city, the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation and Fraser Health, the decision came after lengthy discussion.

Both Couns. Christopher Trevelyan and Scott Kristjanson questioned the wisdom of the previous council’s investing $100,000 in the piece – for which funding had been diverted from potential public art on the waterfront – and Coun. David Chesney asked why the contract had been awarded to an artist from outside of the community.

While the discussion called the entire project into question, Kristjanson ultimately withdrew a motion to rethink it after it was pointed out that most approvals had been granted.

The capper came when financial services director Sandra Kurylo said that, under the contract for the work, funds had been advanced to the artist.

Motion to endorse the agreement was passed with Trevelyan, Kristjanson and Coun. Erika Johanson opposed.

The 20-foot-tall aluminum sculpture, ‘Stande’ – intended as a tribute to the historic contributions of the women of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary – was created by Victoria-based artist Illarion Gallant.

Approved by the city’s public art committee – after a council process that debated whether it should be on city or hospital property – the piece is being funded by $76,000 that would have been budgeted for art at the waterfront parkade, along with $24,000 from the 2018 Community Public Art budget.

According to a corporate report, $85,000 will pay the artist’s fees and $15,000 will go toward site preparation and a plaque.

City staff told council the art represented a stand of sheltering trees, symbolizing the contributions of the auxiliary women.

But after Coun. Helen Fathers said she hoped four existing trees at the site would be replanted, Kristjanson pointed out the irony.

“I have a problem with something that commemorates a stand of trees removing trees,” he said.

“(And) I don’t know that I embrace the art of it.”

Trevelyan noted that, while he is not an art critic, he didn’t think the work adequately represented what it is supposed to represent.

Chesney said the city is “constantly going outside (the community)” for its public art.

“Being such an arts community, I think we should exhaust all avenues that we do not have an artist in our community that can take care of public art installations.”

In response to a question from Coun. Anthony Manning, who had earlier questioned the destruction of a community mural for the construction of the parkade, staff acknowledged there had been no direct public consultation on the new public art: “The selection panel did not feel a need to go broader in terms of asking the public their opinion on the art piece.”

“Maybe this is another policy to revise,” Manning said.

“What I think I’m hearing is that the public art policy may be coming before council sooner rather than later,” chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill commented.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SPCA partners with Crime Stoppers

Many call in to the SPCA, but want to remain anonymous: Eccles

OUR VIEW: Wards for Surrey worth a hard look

Ward system divvies up city into neighbourhoods with a council member representing an electoral region

Civilian oversight of Surrey police deemed ‘fundamental’

Surrey Police Board executive director says inaugural meeting showcased passion, focus

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Man accused of killing Red Deer doctor says he does not remember attack

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

Driver maces pedestrian after hit and run in Langley City

Police were on the scene at Michaud Crescent Wednesday morning

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Most Read