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Gone FISHing: CMLC seeks volunteer anglers for Central Library public art

It’s a different kind of fishing, but this public art group effort is sure to land the big one.

The Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) is putting the call out to volunteers who want to take part in putting together one of their prime public art displays at the New Central Library.

The $245 million Central Library is nearing completion, with July 24 being the 100-day countdown to the slated Nov. 1, 2018 opening. But they’re still on the hook for the Christian Moeller mural entitled FISH, and they need the public’s help.

Anywhere from five to 10 Calgarians will get the chance to work with Moeller’s team on the three-metre high and 15-metre wide mural, which will be put together using nearly 11,000 books with 12 different spine colours.

According to Clare LePan with the CMLC, Moeller has had similar installations in other cities around the world where the community is recruited to help construct the public art display.

“Given the context of the library, we thought it was an intriguing way to have members of the public or library members being given a hands-on opportunity to work with his team and be a part of the library for years to come,” she said.

LePan said that with the ongoing conversation around public art in Calgary, this would give people the chance to see the process from the artist’s side – the planning, the organization, how the site is prepared and the work that goes into building the finished product.

“And then they get to participate in it in a way that’s not always possible for large-scale public art,” LePan said.

Volunteers will also be given the chance to inscribe a message inside one of the display books that will remain there during the life of the public art piece.

“Christian’s art reflects the innovative nature of this project and compliments our vision to create an inspiring place,” said Bill Ptacek, CEO, Calgary Public Library, when the public art projects were announced in April.

“Beyond their intrinsic artistic merit, his works will reinforce the identity of the New Central Library experience by bringing an enchanting and whimsical experience that will captivate the imagination of children and visitors of all ages”.

FISH will be stationed on the third floor of the New Central Library, and, along with the exterior public art piece, TRIO, was part of the Calgary Public Art Policy stipulation for a percentage of the project cost going to public art. The budget for these projects is $2 million.

For those looking to take part, you can visit the volunteer page of the CMLC website. But be prepared – they want to know (in 75 words or less) why you want to be a part of this library public art installation.