'A postcard for the City of Regina': Mackenzie Art Gallery planning Indigenous outdoor art piece

The Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina is finalizing plans for a new outdoor art piece designed by an Indigenous artist. Its budget has been set at $315,000.

Artwork budgeted at $315K

This artwork by Duane Linklater would appear on the side of the Mackenzie Art Gallery building if chosen. The scale is 1:192. (Art by Duane Linklater)

The Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina is finalizing plans for a new outdoor art piece designed by an Indigenous artist.

Janine Windolph, curator of public programs, said the gallery asked for applications from several Indigenous artists. Three were shortlisted including Mary Anne Barkhouse, Duane Linklater and Wally Dion.

Each artist created a design which was shared in a public engagement space at the gallery.

The winning piece was chosen and will be announced publicly before the end of the year, Windolph said.
This artwork created by Mary Anne Barkhouse is untitled. It would appear in between the gallery and Albert Street if chosen. (Artwork by Mary Anne Barkhouse)

She explained that the piece is part of the gallery's Indigenous reconciliation project, an effort to bring more indigenous art to the community.

"Part of the concern had been, there's public art in Regina, but not enough that convey Indigenous stories. So this was a chance to participate in Regina's public art narratives that are out there right now," she said.

The chosen piece will be constructed following its announcement and will be unveiled in May 2018.

Who's paying?

The budget for the piece has been set at $315,000.

"Whether one supports or doesn't support a piece, even that can create interesting discussion," Windolph said. "But the legacy of public art can transcend our generation. While we may have our own understanding of the piece, the next generation will be able to take meaning and intent and stories and translate it in a new way."
This artwork created by Wally Dion would be constructed out of 30-year-old red cedar. (Artwork by Wally Dion)

Anthony Kiendl, executive director and CEO of the gallery, said the project, which includes the piece, received three main sources of funding.

I feel like we're building our history.- Anthony Kiendl, Mackenzie Art Gallery CEO

A grant for about $225,000 was awarded from the Federal Government Department of Canadian Heritage for Canada's 150th celebration. That amount was matched by private donations and gallery fundraisers. The City of Regina contributed $30,000. Aside from the public installation, the rest of the money will go to events that will foster discussion on reconciliation throughout the year — screenings, talks and panels.

Kiendl said much of the money for the piece itself will go to the hiring of local businesses that will help make it possible. This will include landscaping, insurance, equipment rentals and more.

He said public art is essential in today's society.

"It has the potential, in beautifying the city, not only on an aesthetic level but to be a gathering place to be a calling card or a postcard for the city of Regina and the province," he said. "There's something great about artwork outside that's public, that really speaks to who we are as a community. I feel like we're building our history."