Artist says Regina's $10K for Taylor Field tribute at Mosaic Stadium not enough

Local artist David Garneau says the Taylor Field Commemoration Public Art Project doesn't offer enough money and lacks timely community consultation.

David Garneau says City of Regina looking for 'cheapest thing they can get'

The new Mosaic Stadium being built in Regina. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

An artist says $10,000 from the City of Regina to commemorate Taylor Field at the new Mosaic Stadium is not enough money for the art project. 

The city will provide a local artist with the money for the project inside the new stadium.

David Garneau says while $10,000 might seem like a substantial amount, it doesn't come close to what it should be. 

"There are certainly starving artists who say, '$10,000, that's fabulous,'" said Garneau, associate professor in visual arts at the University of Regina.

If we want to make things better in this city, and building a new stadium is about making things better, we deserve better artwork.- David Garneau

"If they haven't been involved before and realized how easy it is to even get into debt, but [also] certainly to reduce the quality of your work. They need to be made aware."

Garneau said any other creative treatment beyond a mural would be far above $10,000.

"They're looking for the absolute cheapest thing they can get," he said. 

He noted there are many hidden costs with large projects such as consultations, insurance and preparation.

For example, he estimated it would cost more than $500 just to prep the wall for paint.

Massive letters were brought up in sections by crane on the new stadium. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

On top of the costs, there's the time. Garneau said artists typically expect 20 per cent of the total costs, but often most walk away with 15 or even 10 per cent. 

The artist would only bank $6 per hour, assuming the project took 300 hours to complete. 

Beyond the money

Garneau said lack of extensive community consultation for this project will result in uninspired work. 

"An artwork is very different from just putting something up on the wall," he said. 

The call to artists said that the work must be created with the community's participation, but Garneau said the outreach needs to happen prior to submissions. 

Seeking public opinion would make the project 'spectacular' and then it could become a destination artwork piece for the city rather than acting as a generic backdrop, he said. 

"With more consultation you'll get more exciting projects," he said, pointing to a past project in Alberta where artists met with community elders prior to planning the artwork.

Garneau said many of those artists changed their ideas after hearing public input and listening to the community's vision.

"If we want to make things better in this city, and building a new stadium is about making things better, we deserve better artwork," he said.

A new terrace area is also planned for the ground level on the northeast corner of the stadium. It will feature trees, seating areas and walkways. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

"That's not just a matter of dollars, but consultation to get people to professionalize their practice but also for the audience to expect more and get more."

City responds

The city didn't consult anyone beyond internal staff for this particularly project, said Kelly Scherr, director of major projects for the City of Regina. 

Scherr said they are excited to see the proposals and how artists want to engage the greater community with their artwork. 

As it stands, the $10,000 payment will not change. 

For some artists, the amount will be challenging to work with but for other artists it will be enough, she said. 

However, there is a chance the amount will be reevaluated once the project is chosen, she said, adding they'll know more at the end of the month. Submissions are due on May 31. 

The $10,000 amount was 15 per cent of the total Farewell Season budget, which Scherr said was approximately $70,000.

Artists can submit their proposals here