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Get ready to Illumine, as Calgary public art gets a little more Chinook-ery in February

No, there isn’t any chicanery involved, as Barb Scott Park will become home to two public art pieces celebrating the winds that make winter tolerable in Calgary.

Chinook-ery will be joining the existing Chinook Arch art piece during the second annual Winter City Design Competition, which is putting a pair of winning public art designs on display throughout the—and aptly named—Chinook Blast festival.

Illumine, which will be on display on Stephen Avenue and 1 Avenue SE, was also chosen to be shown during the festival.

“As an architect, the decision to participate in the competition was driven by the desire to contribute to an engaging public realm and the greater community,” said Paul Miller, Architect AAA with Mion Architecture and part of the Illumine team.

Both pieces of art will be on display from Feb. 1 through 26.

The annual competition is being held as part of the future of Stephen Avenue project.

“I believe even a small, temporary intervention can materially enrich the life of a street and can become a catalyst for greater human connection,” said Miller.

Chinook-ery will be made up of several modules, which include tunnels, benches, slides, and lights that can be reorganized throughout the Chinook Blast festival and depending on changing weather conditions.

The project team was made up of Giovanni Carano, Vince Ellis, Kayla Royce, Marcia Eng, Jenn Comrie, David Kowel, Leighton Ginther, Jon van Heyst, and Kim Crews.

“We are professional engineers, designers and planners that work in the Beltline… we loved the opportunity to work across professional disciplines, to think creatively about a local park and to celebrate playful designs that enhance the experience of being outside during the winter season for residents, workers and visitors of the Beltline,” said Royce, transportation engineer with Urban Systems.

Illumine will be made up of three lit frames, with spinning blocks with different shaded sides allowing visitors to interactively create new art.

That team was made up of Paul Miller and Miles Abesdris.

Last year’s winners were Infinito and Wowie, and were both located on Stephen Avenue.

Chinook-ery public art design. CITY OF CALGARY

Teams given $14,000 to complete their visions

The winning teams for the second annual competition have been given each $14,000 to complete their public art projects.

Winners were selected by a jury consisting of Kasian Lifescape Sector strategic Business consultant Sharon Martens, Calgary Downtown Association Executive Director Mark Garner, registered landscape architect Kathryn Glendinning, City of Calgary project manager Jenna Matthews, Calgary Public Library CEO Sarah Meilleur, manager of Centre City Operations for Parks & Open Spaces Carmen Hindson, and visual artist Alia Shahab.

The jury selected the winners based on the criteria of showcasing this year’s theme of “Winter Dreamscape.” Entrants were also highly encouraged by the city to have barrier-free access for visitors and to be engaged with by the public.

Locations for entrants to choose from were expanded this year as well. Stephen Avenue, Barb Scott Park, and Century Gardens were all locations available for designers to base their creations at.

“Calgary has an amazing design community and we’re excited to provide creative opportunities to help bring their ideas to life,” said Kate Zago, City of Calgary lead for the Winter City Design Competition.

Calgarians will have a chance to vote for their favourite art display during the final weeks of February, with the winner being announced later in the year.

“We can’t wait to showcase these designs in February and have people enjoy the new experiences to help create vibrancy, better social connections and increase overall social wellness during the winter months,” said Zago.

Other entrants for this year included YY-Seek, Snow Hall, Inversion, Wings to Fly, and The Hive.