Dundas Driving Park Public Art Project Phase 2

The City of Hamilton has completed a public art process to select a work of art to be installed in Dundas Driving Park. 

Project award

The volunteer citizen jury has selected the work “The Big Bounce” by Paul Slipper and Mary Ann Liu as the winning proposal. 

It is expected that the work will be installed in the summer of 2015.

Background

This report is a brief overview of the discussion and decision of the volunteer citizen jury which met at Dundas Town Hall on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, to review the five short-listed artist proposals. They evaluated the proposals for artist merit, response to the competition goals and themes, and technical feasibility based on their review of the submission information, a presentation on technical feasibility by staff, interviews with the artists and a review of the public comments.

The following goal and theme are based on resident’s comments from a series of meetings held in 2008. Artist’s proposals were scored, in part, on how successfully they addressed this goal and the theme.

Goal: That the proposed art work or series of art works should be reflective of existing pedestrian movement through the park.

The subject of the work(s) should be reflective of an aspect of the following theme: History and memory in the historical and physical context of the Town of Dundas and the Dundas Driving Park.

When asked, what are the most important qualities, characteristics and stories of the Dundas Driving Park and the community of Dundas, a citizen focus group provided the following answers:

  • Small town park – small scale park
  • Celebrating a sense of play, youth and family
  • Genuine sense of community
  • Peaceful and safe
  • Celebrating the past (memories)

The work(s) may have a functional aspect but is not required to.


Award

After a clear, articulated discussion, the jury narrowed their focus between Paul Slipper & Mary Ann Liu’s, The Big Bounce, and Art Lucs of Vilnis Cultural Design Works’, Resting in Community Memory: The Dundas Driving Park Story Benches proposals. Both proposals best fulfilled the Goals and Themes created by the citizen focus group. However the Jury felt that Slipper and Liu’s proposal presented a more creative and artistic approach and better fulfilled the Artistic Excellence category. The commission for the work will therefore be awarded to Paul Slipper and Mary Ann Liu’s The Big Bounce.

Jury comments

The Dundas Driving Park 2 Jury was pleased by the wide spectrum of works offered by all contributors, particularly the five short-listed artists. All of the proposals were innovative well considered responses to the competition. This made the selection process that much more difficult as the Jury felt that each proposal had potential to succeed as a public art piece. The Jury wishes to congratulate each of the five finalists on their efforts.

Paul Slipper and Mary Ann Liu
The jury felt that Slipper and Liu had a conceptually strong proposal that is accessible, contemporary, and playful; in other words completely fulfils the goals and themes set out by the community. They thought that the use of granite was a good fit and that the contradiction of a light airy balloon recreated in a heavy rock further adds to the playfulness of the work. The jurors noted that the maquette (model) of the proposal that was presented was not representative of the colourful aspect of the work explained in the detailed proposal and at the artists’ interview. They were concerned about approving a work with a prominent engraving component that has yet to be finalized but it was noted that the artists agreed work with local historians and City staff to ensure the images presented will be correct reflections of Dundas history. The jury would like to see further discussion on the size of the images to be engraved on the granite. They would also like further discussion with City staff on the ‘string’ component of the work to ensure that it is safe for pedestrians. This proposal scored strongly with community at the day-long session at the Dundas Public Library.

Vilnis Cultural Design Works
The Jury was impressed by the clean well-designed look of the Vilnis work. They felt that the benches fulfilled the goals and themes of the competition very well. However the clean, precision look was also the reason that the jury felt the work did not stand as strongly as Slipper and Liu’s in the Artistic Excellence category. The ‘manufactured’ feel of the work came across as too fabricated and not as artistic. Concerns were raised about adding more benches to the park (taking away older benches), and potential injury due to the sharp edges and narrow spaces of the design. The jury recommends that the City consider hiring Vilnis Cultural Design Works to create replacement benches as needed throughout the city. Although this work was well received in the web-based public consultation, the jury scored it slightly less than the successful proposal based on Artistic Excellence.

Bryce Kanbara and Brian Kelly
This proposal reflected the goals and themes using imagery of the horse that was once the original method of driving through the park. It also scored well on Artistic Excellence. Though the jury liked this work, they felt that the horse theme was already used in the previous Dundas Driving Park competition with the Les Drysdale and Sandor Monos’ work, Racing Carousel. They felt there was too much repetition. Concerns were also raised about the potential for graffiti on the work.

Ted Fullerton
The Jury all agreed that the Fullerton piece was a very strong artistic work. They felt that it did not fulfil the Goals and Theme requirement as strongly as any of the other works. Some felt the esoteric nature of the work would be hard for many people to understand. Concerns were raised about the potential for graffiti and other defacement possibilities on the giant wall. Some jurors had issue about the large size of the work and the impact on the park which is more natural and family oriented. It scored lower with the community at the Dundas Public Library.

iloks/swell
The Jury agreed that this work fulfilled the Goals and Themes of the competition. Conceptually it was thought to be a good idea, but practical concerns were raised regarding durability and visibility in the park. Some felt that the work was delicate and could be more susceptible to vandalism and theft than the other proposals. For these reasons the work was scored lower by the Jury.

The jury

  • Ken Beel - Dundas Valley Rotary Club
  • Dianne Beatty Wearing - City of Hamilton Arts Advisory Commission
  • Mary Jo Hind - Resident/ Architect
  • Phyllis Kraemer - Dundas BIA
  • Sandor Monos - Artist
  • Stan Nowak - Dundas Community Council
  • Libby Toews - Carnegie Gallery

It is expected that the work will be installed in the summer of 2016.

Concept statement

Our goal for this project is to create a sense of celebration and reflect upon the history of the Town of Dundas. Balloons are one of the most recognizable icons for celebrations in modern times. They evoke memories of events such as sporting events, family picnics, parades, birthdays and happy occasions.

We propose placing highly polished granite balloons that appear as though they are bouncing along the ground through the park, giving the feeling of freedom and movement. Presented on the balloons are historical photos of the Town of Dundas and Dundas Driving Park. Images that are both intriguing and historical will be sand blasted onto the surface of the highly polished granite surface as though they are light reflections.

Up close, people will be drawn to touch and interact with the beautiful and unique qualities that only polished granite can showcase. Placed at strategic points along the pathway, viewers will be enticed to discover the imagery and qualities of each balloon. From a distance, the balloons will create a magical festive feel in this park setting.

A total of five balloons are envisioned for this project. Each will be 4' high by 6' long. The historical photos depicted by sand blasting will be at maximum 14" high by 20" wide. Two images placed on opposite sides of each balloon will encourage the viewer to move around the artwork. The selection & acquisition of the historical images may be in concert with the Dundas Driving Park Public Art Committee.

Granites from across Canada will be used, adding deep connections of the materials to the sculptural concept and site area. The "string" tied to each balloon visually suggests freedom and travel of the balloons.

Viewers of all ages and from all walks of life will easily be able to relate to "The Big Bounce". This sculptural installation is a visual pun that juxtaposes concept with reality. While the form is delicate and soft conceptually, the stone is permanent and strong in reality.

We are very excited to work with the City of Hamilton and the Town of Dundas to create a compelling and timeless public artwork that conveys the concept of celebration and at the same time depict reflections of history.

Public consultation results

Thank you to the 486 people who reviewed the proposals and provided their preferred selection and comments to the jury. Please review the consultation results by selecting the following link.

Review the Public Consultation Comments (PDF, 264 KB)

Call for artists

The Call for Artists for this project closed Thursday September 18, 2014. 16 proposals were submitted.

Reports

A focus group and charrette were held in spring 2009 to help determine the scope, goals and themes for this public art project.

Tuesday May 12, 2009 from 1:30 to 4 pm
Dundas Town Hall, Council Chambers

Attendees

  • Helen Beswick - Artist, Writer and Former Dundas Council member
  • Nancy McKibbin Gray - City of Hamilton Arts Advisory Commission
  • John Thouless - Dundas Tennis Club
  • Bill Mungar - Dundas Lawn Bowling
  • Mary Jo Hind - Resident, Architect
  • Claire Crozier - Dundas Historical Museum
  • Frances Neufeld - Resident, DVSA Board Member
  • Phyllis Kraemer - Dundas B.I.A.
  • Russ Powers - City of Hamilton Councillor Ward 13
  • Steve Barnhart - City of Hamilton Landscape Architectural Services
  • Ken Coit - City of Hamilton Culture Division (Facilitator)
  • Linda Goessinger - City of Hamilton Culture Division (Recorder)
  • Regrets, Arthur Greenblat - Dundas Valley School of Art

Background

This focus group was organized to bring together stakeholders with an interest in Dundas Driving Park and public art to determine those qualities, characteristics and stories that define Dundas Driving Park and the surrounding Community for the purpose of providing ideas for a future public art installation in the park. The results of this focus group, along with a public charrette will serve as the basis for description of the Park and proposed Artwork in a Request for Proposal to artists to create a public art installation in Dundas Driving Park. This information will also be used by the jury to select pieces of public art that reflect the local community and local context.

The group was shown a short presentation discussing the definition of public art, the process for selecting public art, the $250,000 project budget, possible locations and examples of public art.

Discussion

After introductions participants provided their ideas and comments in response to a series of questions as follows:

  • Families
  • Youths
  • School Groups
  • Community Organizations
  • Sports
  • Reunions
  • Picnics
  • Day Cares
  • Special Events – Victoria Day
  • The Cactus Festival parade
  • Church groups
  • Lawn Bowling and Tennis since 1929
  • Pony Rides
  • Ice Skating
  • High school students
  • Peaceful quite sanctuary in the cove
  • The route around the park
  • Divided into distinct areas houses/natural/play
  • Represents Earth/Wind/ Fire/Water
  • Contained by Nature – works as an outdoor Room
  • Views to the escarpment
  • Small scale elements
  • Peaceful
  • Shelters, Washrooms, Cooking areas
  • No major roads in area
  • Fireworks
  • Genuine sense of community
  • Always bump into someone you know
  • Great memories
  • Multiple things to do
  • Small town park, small town values
  • Cactus Parade
  • Past Horse Track
  • Military history
  • Football – Dundas Red Bombers
  • Chub Collins – baseball
  • Memories from different phases of life in Dundas
  • multi-purpose
  • Sunday afternoons
  • Canada Day Rotary Pancake Breakfast
  • Sense of community
  • Multi purpose park
  • Lots of memories
  • Historical and traditional town park
  • Ours to share
  • Diverse Activities – baseball, music, tennis, lawn bowling, children’s play
  • Surrounded by houses, school, nature, containing layers of history
  • A series of pieces - historical
  • Something that signals what happens inside of park
  • Piece that speaks about Park History
  • Travel Experience to discover secluded pieces
  • Series of pieces – safe and close to the Road
  • Pond with Statue and Water Fountain
  • Vintage Drinking Fountain – Dundas Public Utilities
  • Art on top of the gate pillars replicating original
  • Integrated Art – useful: benches, trash receptacle, fun pieces
  • Signifying local art history – Ceramics, Glass, Potters, Iron Workers, Weavers, Mills, McMaster Pottery. – integrated route
  • Elements of Water
  • Criteria for Art to Combat Vandalism
  • Collage of handwritten memories and stories of the Park from the locals through-out the ages
  • Horse collage
  • Park Plaque explaining history of area
  • Small hanging pennants – seasonal
  • Time line Mural
  • Rotary Club is donating a clock for Park
  • Entrance Focal Point – do not disturb pillar gateway
  • At main entrance but do not relocate the existing “Spirit of Youth Art”
  • In the planter at the centre of the new rink/splash pad
  • Consider Security Issues
  • Logical - triangle location – across from cove area beside parking at entrance walkway to new rink/splash pad
  • Benches in Cove area
  • Artful Walkway – pathways in Art – possibly following the historical route around the park
  • A series that follows the route around the park

Conclusion

After a short break members came back together to review the comments provided thus far and to prioritize those comments in terms of the following question.

  • Small town park – small scale park
  • Celebrating a sense of play, youth and family
  • Genuine sense of community
  • Peaceful and safe
  • Celebrating the past (memories)

The following recommendations were generally agreed among the focus group members:

  1. That the project budget be divided to allow for two permanent public art pieces
    a. A larger piece at the centre of the new rink/splash pad area dealing with themes of play and youth.
    b. A smaller piece that maybe a series of pieces addressing the route around the park and themes of history and memory. It is anticipated that this piece will focus on the triangle site where the new east entrance walkway to the rink/splash pad meets the ring road.
  2. The two existing pieces of the art in the Park donated by the Lennard family are to remain as is.
  3. That every attempt be made to keep the existing entrance gate pillars, donated by Colonel Grafton, in place.

Thursday May 28, 2009 from 7 to 9 pm 
Dundas Municipal Service Centre

Background

This charrette was organized to bring together members of the community with an interest in Dundas Driving Park and public art to determine those qualities, characteristics and stories that define Dundas Driving Park and the surrounding Community for the purpose of providing ideas for a theme for a future public art installation in the park. The results of this charrette, along with a stakeholder focus group will serve as the basis for a description of the Park and proposed theme for artwork to be included in a Call for Artists/Request for Proposal Document to be issued in the future. This information will also be used by the jury to inform their selection of pieces of public art that reflect the local community and local context. 

The group was shown a short presentation discussing the definition of public art, the processes for selecting public art, the $250,000 project budget, possible locations and examples of public art. It was noted that the project budget must include 10% for on going maintenance and monies for installation in addition to the artist’s fee. 

Discussion

Attendees were divided into two groups of about 10 each and were asked to work together to address a series of questions about the qualities, characteristics and stories of the Dundas Driving Park and the community of Dundas. 

The following is an outline of the resulting discussion: 

By Group 1

  • Everyone of all ages
  • Children, toddler Programs 
  • Kids playing 
  • Not just residents of Dundas 
  • High School 
  • Dog Walkers 
  • Lawn Bowlers 
  • Tennis Players 
  • Volleyball 
  • Tai Chi
  • Sunday School Picnics 
  • Go to the park for Lunch 
  • Bike Races 
  • People who come and sit in their cars to watch Park Activities 
  • Parades 
  • Kitchenettes for Reunions 
  • Car and Motorcycle Shows 
  • Easter Egg Hunt 
  • Fireworks 
  • Beautiful 
  • Accessible 
  • Oasis 
  • Easy to drive thru 
  • Walkable 
  • Easy Parking and accessibility 
  • Activities available

By Group 2

  • Multi generational 
  • Family 
  • Teenagers 
  • Kids activities 
  • High school 
  • Dogs 
  • Sport activities 
  • Well used 
  • Used by Residents – walking 
  • Senior population- enjoy sitting
  • Start of Parades, Holidays, Celebrations 
  • Personal contemplation

By Group 1

  • Escarpment
  • Trees
  • Stairwell toward cemetery 
  • Active but also peaceful 
  • Oval 
  • Nooks and crannies – can watch from afar
 

By Group 2

  • Sheltered by escarpment 
  • Green 
  • Active Center; quiet, passive areas 
  • Serenity Gardens – peaceful 
  • Cove – peaceful area: Preserve 
  • Oval – sitting in a bowl 
  • Circle of movement 
  • Unusual feature – Drive all around the Park
  • Out of the way – tucked away 
  • Symbolism of the Entrance Gates - Going into something special 
  • Houses in park 
  • Band shell is a larger focal point 
  • Very Accessible 
  • Park in Park 
  • Location in heritage district 
  • Natural Area and Constructed Area 
  • Current sculptures define space and are integrated and intimate

Group 1

  • Richard Hatt
  • Ann Morden – Property was Park – 1780 Acres
  • George Rolph – son in law – Racing Track, driving Park for Horses
  • Young men and women in back seat of cars watching canal races
  • Henry Dundas (although he never set foot in Dundas)
  • 1877 Carnival
  • Hot Air Balloons
  • All different sporting events over the years
  • Band Concerts
  • 6 Nations PowWow
  • Dundas Red Boombers
  • 1947- site of Dundas Centennial Celebrations
  • Filming (Bee Movie)
  • Wrestling
  • Wentworth regiment operated out of old Armories – photo history at Dundas Museum
  • Mr. Folkes and his Pony Ring
  • Band shell, Gazebo, Dances – 2 tiered concession on ground floor; Band still plays here

Group 2

  • Why is it called Driving Park – Art piece to explain story
  • Oldest/early race track – reflect history of track and Rolf
  • Horse Track
  • Military WW1 Training Area
  • Circle of Life
  • History Recorded by Newspaper
  • Community Meeting Spot
  • House without a Roof
  • Train – very visible along escarpment – relationship to industrial history
  • Transition of Dundas – Old to new (Pleasant Valley)

Group 1

  • Full 
  • Driving Circle is Unique – usually you have to park in a lot 
  • Accessibility 
  • Great energy 
  • Spacious 
  • Family community

Group 2

  • Small town – always see someone you know
  • Communal Backyard 
  • Represents people gathering, central location 
  • Representative of the past 
  • Quiet oasis 
  • Traditionally a meeting place 
  • Lasting – don’t change a good thing that has worked well for generations 
  • Intimacy 
  • Timeless feeling – been there forever 
  • Personal relationship to Park – sense of ownership

Group 1

  • All ages – Art piece will have to be secure, safe, tactile and durable 
  • One central piece with series of smaller pieces 
  • Mosaic 
  • Mural 
  • Work of Art benches to sit on – these could be added over time as well (donations honouring family members)
  • Interactive 
  • History integrated 
  • Series of Art on Roadway/sidewalk – winding path 
  • Poem or Words that people will read as they go by 
  • Banners of key historical figures
  • Archway 
  • Temporary pieces that go on display for one year (rental) and then change – requires management (using the same base)
  • Important to incorporate plethora of artists that live in Dundas

Group 2

  • Interactive – light, wind, water 
  • Integrate old and new Art 
  • Feature of Water – series of fountains constructed to reflect history of Park 
  • Landscape – Environmental Art 
  • Water – Stan Rogers and environment 
  • Botanical Contemplation Area – Zen Garden 
  • Integrated area for sitting and playing 
  • Already have stationary sculptures 
  • Blend with Park – shouldn’t stand out 
  • Wall used as Mural 
  • Cove: Light and Sound Movement – nice to have a free space 
  • Water, light, sound garden 
  • There is a playground already – don’t want to change park

Group 1

  • Series of Art as you Drive around oval
  • Water feature for central piece – fountain 
  • Do not disturb the Cove

Group 2

  • Several spots along oval 
  • Relocate peter pan to allow larger piece at gate 
  • Racetrack – start finish line of Race Track 
  • Identified triangle at east side parking and new walkway 
  • Couple of pieces – tranquil and sculpture outside of cove 
  • Spread the focal point and make many little areas

Priorities

After a short break each group was asked to review the comments made and select the three most important qualities characteristics and/or stories they felt were reflective of the Dundas Driving Park and important for a public art project in the Park.

Group 1

  • Community – Active, music, food and celebration 
  • Landscape is unique - Geography/Escarpment 
  • Park changing with Community, but always family orientated 
  • History 
  • Series – something that takes us through the Park

Group 2

  • Walk move around in circle 
  • Reflect community, history and heritage – small town 
  • Sensitive to Natural aspect of Park; Scale, Material, Movement, water, wind, light, 
  • Surrounding escarpment 
  • Large piece in Centre 
  • Smaller pieces in series or garden path area to reflect movement of people or Art

Contact us

Ken Coit - Program Manager Public Art and Projects
Tourism & Culture Division, City of Hamilton
28 James Street North
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 6281
Email: ken.coit@hamilton.ca