Events Photo Credit: Design Talks Institute

How Does Public Art Connect People to Places?

The Design Talks Institute invites you to join the discussion about the influence of public art on culture and community.

When you think about where you’ve travelled throughout your lifetime, what do you remember most?

You may still be able to smell the fresh coffee beans you picked in Nicaragua, or see the vibrant, colourful saris on the crowded streets of India. You might even recall the architectural detail on the tiny church buildings scattered throughout Germany.

Though they all come from a different city, each of these memories is inspired by the feeling that a particular place and culture provides. Each memory is also shaped by public art—what we choose to take pictures next to, what we book tours to see, what we use as landmarks to guide us through new and familiar places.

That’s why the Design Talks Institute (d.talks) will be exploring the relationship between people and places at their upcoming event Let’s Talk About…Public Art, where a panel of experts will discuss how each city chooses its own identity through art. Amery Calvelli, executive director of d.talks, says that while a lot of talk surrounding public art usually focusses on cost, this discussion will focus on the value of public art and the notion of that value in shaping one’s relationship to a place. They’ll also tackle what counts as public art and why it’s an important investment for a city.

Though Calvelli can’t exactly define public art—its meaning is constantly broadening and changing—she hopes the discussion, happening Thursday, June 7, will encourage people to talk about the various ways public art can be defined and the intangible effect it has on our memory.

About the Speakers

Moderated by public art consultant, Ciara McKeown, a generous portion of time will be dedicated for audience members to take part in the conversation and ask questions from this intentionally broad panel.

Alana Bartol is a teacher at the Alberta College of Art and Design. Her research-based and community-embedded projects—shared through her own water witching workshops and in galleries across the world—call attention to hidden infrastructure and propose dreaming, walking and divination as ways of understanding places, species and bodies.

Iman Bukhari tells stories through ICT and new media. As the CEO and founder of the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting multicultural education and mitigating racism, Bukhari brings a contemporary approach to public art by challenging our responsibility and reactions to difference.

Dr. Dan Jacobson is a professor at the University of Calgary. His geography research focuses on how individuals understand, communicate and represent spatial environments. As the director of the IMMERSE research group, he also explores ways to provide accessibility to blind and vision-impaired individuals.

Michelle Reid is a conservation landscape architect for the City of Calgary. By bringing a professional understanding to the relationship between cultural heritage and landscape, Reid explores memory in relation to culture and what art can reveal about a place.

Let’s Talk About…Public Art

When: Thursday, June 7 at 6 p.m.
Where: Victoria Pavillion (Stampede Grounds), 1410 Olympic Way SE
Tickets: $12 adults or $6 students (available here); $15 at the door

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