Springing to life: Street art displays flourish on Calgary’s International Avenue

Visitors can vote on the International Avenue art installation they like best

A view of the art installation by Jennea Frischke, left, and the Dance sculpture, front centre, within Unity Park on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Dance was made in 2021 by Vahe Tokmajyen, and was commissioned by the City of Calgary. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The International Avenue Business Improvement Area was tired of waiting for signs of spring. So, they went out and created it themselves.

They sought the help of 10 city artists to give 17 Avenue SE a sprout of spring colour.

“Spring starts on March 20, and there’s really nothing that looks like spring in Alberta, so we thought why don’t we have some artists come up with something that reminds them of spring,” said Alison Karim-McSwiney, the executive director of the International Avenue BIA.

There are 10 art installations in the Spring has Sprung works along 17 Avenue SE, starting with six in Unity Park.

Take a virtual tour of International Avenue’s art

Light-Green Spring

Jenna Frishcke is on the west side of Unity Park, on the far left of the Green Wall.

An art installation by Jenna Frischke sits on one side of the Green Wall on the west side of Unity Park on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Cattails a Plenty

Leah Petrucci’s art installation is on the northern part of Unity Park.

Art installation by local artist Leah Petrucci in Unity Park on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. The International Avenue Business Improvement Area have curated 10 pieces of art from local artists to help display the coming of spring. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Flawrz 4 U

Rawry & Pohly, a couple that work together and sell their artwork online through Etsy, have their piece to the right of Petrucci’s.

An art installation made by Rawry & Pohly on the north side of Unity Park on International Avenue in Calgary Thursday, March 24, 2022. Rawry & Pohly are a couple that own a store where they sell merchandise and artwork. The International Avenue Business Improvement Area have curated 10 pieces of art from local artists to help display the coming of spring. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Flowers in the Forest

Karen Begg set up her piece next to the Life in the Village of Forest Lawn mural by Eldon Walls, which is on the Dental Hygiene Clinic wall and the southern part of Unity Park.

An art installation by local artist Karen Begg rests on the wall of the Dental Hygiene Care Clinic in Unity Park on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Begg’s piece is right next to the mural Life in the Village of Forest Lawn by Eldon Walls, a local mural artist. The International Avenue Business Improvement Area have curated 10 pieces of art from local artists to help display the coming of spring. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

A Lily for Two

Karen Ho-Fatt Lee has a water lily in the centre of Spouting Fountain in Unity Park.

An art installation by local artist Karen Ho-Fatt Lee sits in the centre of Unity Park on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. The International Avenue Business Improvement Area have curated 10 pieces of art from local artists to help display the coming of spring. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
Karla Cantu, right, looks at an art installation by local artist Karen Ho-Fatt Lee with Fernando Martinez in the centre of Unity Park on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Cantu and Martinez are International Ave East ambassadors, and they work with the International Avenue Business Improvement Area. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Bright Lights, Day or Night

Stephanie Chan’s piece shines in the sun, and lights up at night on the east side of Unity Park.

An art installation by local artist Stephanie Chan on the east side of Unity Park on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. The International Avenue Business Improvement Area have curated 10 pieces of art from local artists to help display the coming of spring. They will be on display until May 28, which is when they will plant real flowers. The piece by Chan lights up in the dark. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Frank The Flower

Tim Knelson, the shop manager for Fuse33 Makerspace, made the piranha plant-like sculpture from Styrofoam and concrete and sits in front of Level Up, a video game store on International Avenue.

A sculpture by local artist Tim Knelson of a piranha plant from the Nintendo Mario series in front of Level Up on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. The piranha plant is part of a spring showcase by the International Avenue Business Improvement Area (BIA). ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

“It has a sort of homegrown feel, to the point where the inside of the pipe actually has dirt like a real plant would. I think that’s a very nice touch,” said Kyle Snyder, an employee at Level Up Games.

Frank Levels Up: Kyle Snyder poses with “Frank the Flower,” a sculpture that looks like the piranha plant from the Nintendo Mario series in front of Level Up on International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Snyder works for Level Up, a video game store that trades and buy games. The piranha plant art installation was made by Tim Knelson and is part of spring showcase by the International Avenue Business Improvement Area. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

“It’s a very natural fit to this area, and especially right beside the store having such an iconic videogame character that’s not so mainstream, but also still relatively well known. It’s very nice.”

En Garde! Fencing for Two

Brandon Tyson shares his art with Paula Timm on fencing that stretches along International Ave from 35 to 36 Street SE.

Floral Fiesta

An art installation by local artist Brandon Tyson on fencing by the corner of 36 Street and International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Water Wheel

An art installation by local artist Paula Timm on fencing by the corner of 36 Street and International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Calla Lily at The Wash

Freddy Rivas and Oscar Rios of SpanicArts, a non-profit art organization with the purpose of developing the Hispanic community in Calgary, have their Calla Lily by 17th Ave Car wash on 36 Street SE.

An art installation by local artist Freddie Rivas and Oscar Rios of SpanicArts sits in front of 17th Ave Car Wash on 37 Street and International Avenue in Calgary on Thursday, March 24, 2022. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Local artists were paid $800 to create the works throughout International Avenue, and they are in a contest where Calgarians can vote for which one they like best, with the winner receiving $1,000. The contest ends on March 28, 2022. Vote for your favourite @intavebrz on Facebook.

The BIA is also drawing from those that voted and will be giving out two gift baskets worth $500 and $250 to the winners drawn.

There are now 50 pieces of art on the street with these new spring art installations.

The spring art showcase will finish on May 28, when International Avenue will receive fresh new flowers around the area.

1 Comment

  1. This was a fantastic article, I was glad to be part of it!
    Although my last name is actually spelled “Snyder” 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.