Public to help decide design for $200,000 art installation in Moncton

Moncton is asking the public to help decide which New Brunswicker will create a $200,000 piece of public art outside its new downtown centre.

The project will sit outside Moncton's new downtown centre

A mock-up of Moncton's new $4.3 million downtown centre, which will feature a $200,000 piece of public art. (Submitted)

Moncton is asking the public to help decide how to spend $200,000 on a piece of public art.

Tuesday evening, the public is invited to join a committee in choosing which of four artists will receive the grant. The chosen artist will build a piece in the new downtown centre plaza.

"There's certainly different options," said Joanne Duguay, cultural development officer for the City of Moncton. "We're open to different kinds of functional pieces, benches, light posts, bike racks, but also more conceptual pieces."

The four artists in the competition are Luc A. Charette, Guylaine Cyr, André Lapointe and Peter Powning, all of whom are from New Brunswick.

Changing concepts

The artists were asked to submit sketches of their idea for what to put in the space, which is located at the corner of Main and Highfield streets.

Since then, they have been allowed to tour the space with an architect to get a better idea of what is feasible, and were allowed to redesign their concept after.

"That could change their entire project from what they had originally submitted, so we have no idea what we will see," Duguay said on Monday.

The committee and the public will hear the artists' presentations at 5 p.m. in the lobby of Moncton City Hall. People will then have a chance to mingle with the artists, and fill out a form detailing their opinions or recommendations on the proposed art.

A big project

The $200,000 project is the result of a policy, where Moncton has to set aside one per cent of certain capital projects for public art. These projects include new building construction or renovations, and park expansions, up to a maximum of $200,000.

Guylaine Cyr, one of the artists in the competition, said this is the biggest project she has ever applied for — and she credits the one per cent policy with enabling big steps in her career.

She has done projects enabled by similar one per-cent policies in Dieppe and Edmundston. 

A piece of metalwork that sits in Notre-Dame-De-Lourdes, New Brunswick. (Submitted/Guylaine Cyr)

"I think it's great that there are some cities in New Brunswick that are employing this policy," Cyr said.

"It's a good platform for someone like me to do something of this [scale]."

The metalsmith, based in northern New Brunswick, said she is nervous but excited to be given the opportunity to make a proposal for a larger city. However, with every big project there are big responsibilities, she said.

"You have to be really well-prepared and you have to do the legwork as far as what the city wants you to do and what your responsibilities are," she said. "It's a big document to put together."