Chestermere City Council approved the construction and installation of a public art sculpture on the Spingmere Storm Pond, during the Feb. 16 Regular Meeting of Council.
The public art sculpture was approved in principle in 2018, however, the proposal did not include concept drawings or a suitable site.
“After undergoing a number of consulting visits and a planning process, the Chestermere Historical Foundation now have a firm plan in place,” said the Parks Manager Rick Van Gelder.
“The sculpture will become a destination piece for residents and guests to admire, sit upon and learn from,” he said.
The sculpture will be large enough to view when driving along Chestermere Blvd or Rainbow Road. Pedestrian traffic is currently low but is expected to increase with west developments.
“As this park and storm pond is located adjacent to the lift station that already contains a historical art piece, the murals of historic photos, the intention will be to make this open space a location for historic pieces and destination,” Van Gelder said.
“Having open space for wind as the sculpture features sounds would be ideal especially in a naturalized background such as the pond and park. Promoting people to come and interact with the sculpture, there is easy access from the road where there is plenty of residential parking,” he said.
Illarion Gallant has been chosen to sculpt the “Word of Mouth” art piece, that will represent Chestermere’s history and how it’s told.
The “Word of Mouth” sculpture will feature artifacts from the original townsite.
“I want to thank the artist and the historical society, this is so important, our community needs more music, more art, and everything it encompasses. Seeing this is so inspiring,” said City Councillor Yvette Kind.
The Chestermere Historical Foundation, and Chestermere resident, Dr. Preston Pouteaux was inspired to the history of Chestermere through the sculpture.
“On napkins, we started to sketch and dream, and we came to this concept of a piece of art that is built on a historical foundation, the base of it is built from the history of our city, we wanted to create a base that you could sit on, and potentially climb on,” Pouteaux said.
Adding, “Above it, we imagined this idea of listening and speaking, two things that are very valuable to our democratic process, valuable to our neighbours and to us as a city.”
For Pouteaux it was extremely important to incorporate historical artifacts as they tell the story of Chestermere.
“Chestermere is a place built on the stories of people who have come here, who spoke into the culture and have listened to others, that’s what Chestermere is built on. Public art captures the stories of people and encourages other people to speak into the story of our city. It’s what our community has been built on,” Pouteaux said.
“It’s a beautiful democratic picture of all these voices coming together, and for me, that happens between neighbours as we lean over fences and talk about the kind of city that we want,” he said.
Adding, “This public art will stand out as something unique and interactive, and hopefully really honours all the people that make up our city.”
City Councillor Ritesh Narayan added, “The arts and history, these things add to the character of our community and it builds community.”