Hamilton Farmers' Market Public Art Project

The City of Hamilton has completed a Public Art process to select a permanent Public Art work to be installed on the sidewalk near the east entrance to the newly renovated Hamilton Farmers' Market at the corner of MacNab Street and York Boulevard in downtown Hamilton.


You are invited to join us in celebrating the installation of “Raising the Barn” by the Aluminum Quilting Society coordinated by artist David Hind.

Date: Friday July 14 2017.
Time: 5 to 6 pm
Location: Hamilton Farmer’s Market, York Blvd at MacNab Street

Project award

A volunteer jury of citizens, artists and Farmers’ Market stallholders and stakeholders has selected the proposed work “Raising the Barn” by David Hind as the winning entry in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market District Public Art Competition.

Detail of “Raising the Barn” by the Aluminum Quilting Society - Co-ordinated by David Hind Material: Recycled Aluminium

Concept statement

Raising a barn was once the most involved of all community activities across rural Ontario. The process brought together neighbours, families, friends, and sometimes strangers, to create not just an essential piece of infrastructure for the lucky family farm, but also to reinforce an agricultural tradition of cooperation and community-reliance. Hundreds, if not thousands, of the resulting structures remain where they have stood for many decades, created with the collective sweat of farmers young and old. These barns are an essential step in the business of bringing produce from field to market.

Hamilton’s modern farmers’ market is a new junction at which farmers and families can meet. Regular market days have reinvented the link between growers and buyers and there is a renewed and very personal endurance in this relationship, with the faces of farmers and stallholders becoming more recognizable in urban circles.

To help anchor this still evolving relationship, this proposal will firmly plant an icon of rural Ontario in the middle of the City. Raising the Barn will quite literally elevate the Ontario barn within the heart of Hamilton. By creating a durable and iconic depiction of this well-known rural structure at the main entrance to Hamilton’s Farmers’ Market, Raising the Barn will serve as an urban-scale beacon to locals, visitors, shoppers, delivery drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and commuters. From the market side, Raising the Barn will reveal more detailed and vivid depictions of Hamilton’s farming and market communities.

Constructed from a frame of galvanized steel sections, Raising the Barn will itself be the result of a cooperative building effort. Faced in recycled red aluminum panels along the street side of York Boulevard, the design picks out the shape and intricate structural form of the typical, traditional heavy timber barn. By contrasting with the sleek glass facade of the Farmers’ Market and the alternating concrete and grey metal of the Public Library above, Raising the Barn will become an icon for the Hamilton Farmers’ Market.

Meanwhile, facing inward towards the Market itself, and etched into aluminum backgrounds in the well-known style and medium of artist Dave Hind, will be finely textured visual vignettes from Hamilton’s farming and market communities. These images will be commissioned from local artists as part of the project, and will be supplemented by elements created by nascent young talents at community and school events. Ultimately, all the work for this project will be ground and etched into the recycled aluminum panel. Set against a rural background on the elevated Barn, Dave Hind will then collage a visual narrative to capture the connection between farming and the market in Hamilton. Raising the Barn, therefore, works well at different urban scales – as a beacon and an intimate work of art.

Finally, by very literally raising the barn (to about seven feet above the sidewalk), the project allows safe “inhabitation” at ground level, providing a space for pedestrians to meet and linger, and opportunities for stallholders to create outdoor vending areas.

Public consultation results

1376 people provided their preferred selection as follows:

  • 42% for Once Upon a Time in Hamilton’s Farmers Market, Oksana Hawrylak and Olenka Kleban (Kosa Koletktiv)
  • 28% for Raising the Barn, Dave Hind
  • 10% for Seed Pods, Leslie Putnam
  • 9% for The Carrots Don’t Get Here on Their Own, Bryce Kanbara and Brian Kelly
  • 5% for Goods of Weight, Ingrid Mayrhofer
  • 5% for To Market, Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky
  • 1% for None

Review the Public Consultation Comments (PDF, 282 KB)

Call for artists

The Call for Artists was announced on October 17, 2013 and closed on Friday November 29, 2013. We received 48 proposals from 46 artists.


A focus group was held on June 24, 2013 to determine the qualities and characteristics of the market that artists will be asked to address in their submissions to the competition.

June 23, 2013 from 7 to 8:30 pm
City Centre, 77 James Street North Suite 250 (York Boulevard entrance)


  • Dennis Baker - Durand Neighbourhood Association 
  • Paul Elia - Artist 
  • Sylvia Nickerson - Beasley Neighbourhood Association/Artist 
  • Jorge Rodrigues - Market Stall Holder 
  • Donna Reid - City of Hamilton Arts Advisory Commission 
  • Breanne Ritchie - Hamilton Arts Council 
  • Sue Shaker - Market shopper 
  • Donna Lee MacDonald - City of Hamilton, Market Manager 
  • Sapphire Singh - City of Hamilton, Market Staff 
  • Heather Judson - City of Hamilton, Tourism and Culture 
  • Ken Coit - City of Hamilton, Art in Public Places Coordinator (Facilitator) 


  • Jules Gauthier - Market Stall Holder 
  • Robert Lalla - Market Stall Holder 
  • Una Gibbons - Downtown B.I.A. 
  • Chris Cutler - Friends of the Market 


To describe the qualities and characteristics of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market that artists making submissions to the competition will use to inspire and inform their proposals. 


Ken Coit provided an overview of the project site, scope, budget and selection process. The preliminary site for the work(s) is on the public sidewalk, in the planting area at the southeast corner of MacNab Street and York Boulevard. Examples were provided of goals and themes used for other public art competitions and of some works that may be feasible within the $75,000 budget for artist fees, fabrication and installation


Focus group members were asked to address the following question: 
What are the spirit and qualities of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market that you think a public art work should express to passing motorists and pedestrians? 


The following qualities were identified as part of the general discussion addressing the question: 

  • Cultural diversity 
  • Inclusive
  • Agricultural 
  • Artisan-local 
  • Family and community 
  • Longevity 
  • History – Founded 1837 
  • Personal interaction 
  • Memories and stories (Nostalgia) 
  • Loyalty to community and stall holders 
  • Alternative to “Normal Grocery Shopping” 
  • Specialty items 
  • Unique products/experiences 
  • Sounds, interactions of people 
  • Social – meet friends 
  • Living community 
  • Evolving organically 
  • Eating while walking (can’t do that in a supermarket) 
  • Comfortable 
  • All seasons 
  • Small business incubator 
  • Playful/light-hearted 
  • Local community 
  • “Better than St Lawrence Market” 
  • Foods of the World 
  • Art should have universal appeal 
  • A didactic art work may not be appropriate – not inclusive 
  • Food diversity 
  • People gathering place
  • Small business 
  • Non-corporate food system 
  • Personal relationships 


After a short break the group worked together reviewing the results of the previous discussion to identify the most appropriate characteristics and qualities and came to a consensus around 
priorities as per the following statements. 

The Hamilton Farmer’s Market is: 

  • a people place where visitors and stall holders interact to create a welcoming sense of community; 
  • diverse, offering a unique variety of foods, merchandise and cultural experiences; 
  • a continually evolving community of innovative small businesses; 
  • a Hamilton institution with a long and rich history that inspires loyalty in the community; and 
  • a place where Hamiltonians are exposed to, educated about and connect with food and local agriculture. 


This report is an overview of the discussion and decision of the volunteer citizen jury which met on the evening of June 3rd to determine which of the six short-listed artists’ proposals for a work of public art in front of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market should be implemented. They reviewed the submissions in terms of technical issues, artistic excellence, response to context, public consultation results and in response to the following competition goal: 

Goal: This Public Art project is to enhance the public space along York Boulevard in the vicinity of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market (Market) by installing a work(s) of Public Art that identify the location of the Market and express the spirit and qualities of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market to passing motorists and pedestrians.

At a recent meeting of Market and community stakeholders the following statements were developed to describe the spirit and qualities of the Market.

The Hamilton Farmers’ Market is:

  •   people place where visitors and stall holders interact to create a welcoming sense of community; 
  • diverse, offering a unique variety of foods, merchandise and cultural experiences; 
  • a continually evolving community of innovative small businesses; 
  • a Hamilton institution with a long and rich history that inspires loyalty in the community; and 
  • a place where Hamiltonians are exposed to, educated about and connect with food and local agriculture. 


After a long discussion about various aspects of the short-listed proposals the jury gave the highest overall score to the proposal Raising the Barn by David Hind. The commission for the work will therefore be awarded to David Hind. 

Jury comments

The jury members applauded the efforts of all of the 48 artists that made submissions to the competition. There were many excellent proposals. Opening personal ideas and talents to public scrutiny can be difficult and the jury therefore extended their thanks to all of the artists that shared their ideas by submitting to this competition, especially the six short-listed artists whose proposals were presented for public comment.

The jury also noted the large response to public consultation on this project. They extended their thanks to all 1376 people that took the time to review the short-listed submissions, select their preferred proposal and provide comments. There were over forty pages of comments submitted including a large number of excellent comments related to the project goal which helped to inform their decision.

The winning proposal was not the one selected in the overall public consultation results and media reports incorrectly implied that another proposal had won. Therefore the jury wanted to assure those that provided opinions that their input was an important part of the process and was carefully considered. They also wanted to ensure that their reasoning, as noted below, was made public. They wished to clarify that they and the artists understood from the beginning of the project that the selection of the winning proposal rested with the jury. It was clear on the project website, in the Call for Artist Documents and in media releases that the public consultation results were to be considered by the jury along with other criteria such as ongoing maintenance and artistic excellence in their determination of the winning proposal. The results of the public consultation especially the many insightful comments provided were very helpful in understanding public reaction to all of the proposals and in making the difficult decision of which one of six excellent proposals should be implemented. 

Jury comments on each proposal are as follows: 

Raising the Barn by David Hind
The jury felt this proposal best achieved the project goal. The work is highly visible and is very contemporary in design while at the same time invoking ideas of community, family farming, the source of our food and our agricultural heritage. It suits its site well by providing the large bold image of the barn to the street and passing drivers while the detailed image of a tractor surrounded by a farming family faces pedestrians on the sidewalk and is visible to shoppers in the market itself. The work is also raised allowing for maximum use of the limited sidewalk space in front of the market. Some jurors and staff noted that the image of the barn may not be as visible when approaching from James Street. Others noted that it would appear more abstract from that vantage point, which is the approach from the arts district in the city. The materials used are not typical to public art but similar works by the artist have been in place outdoors for many years. It was generally well received during public consultation especially by those who reviewed the proposals in person. Most jurors felt that this work will become a new downtown landmark “Meet me under the red barn”. This work was therefore assigned the highest overall score.

Once Upon a Time in Hamilton’s Farmers’ Market by Olenka Kleban and Oksana Hawrylak of the Kosa Kolektiv 
This proposed work is based on the Slavic story The Giant Turnip which is etched into one of four large stainless steel turnip tops to be placed along the street. The story and the idea are very compelling, beautifully executed and address themes such as community working together, family and agriculture. The idea of having a story a part of a work near the library also seemed appropriate. However the jury noted that the work depends on the viewer to read the story to fully understand the work and its relationship to the Market. They felt that the work was therefore not as accessible as other proposals that did not require reading. The jury noted that an early version of the proposal did include a piece that illustrated the story showing a family pulling up a turnip. The artists were required to reduce the scope of their proposal as to not exceed the $75000 award and decided to delete that part of their proposal. The stainless steel finish and size of the work was appropriate but may not have as much impact as other proposals to passing drivers as it is similar to the existing Market facade. Although this work was very well received in the web-based public consultation, the jury scored it slightly less than the successful proposal. 

The Carrots Don’t Get Here on Their Own by Bryce Kanbara and Brian Kelly 
This proposal best illustrated the Market as a people place recalling the different types of shoppers and workers that use the Market. The jury noted that this work would also create a sense of movement along the street. The jury felt that while the work, through its use of Corten (rusting) steel and the style of the figures was bold and recalled the history of the Market, it was not as forward looking as the other proposals. The work was also not as well received as the previous two proposals in public consultation. This work was therefore scored lower. 

Seed Pods by Leslie Putnam 
This proposal was very compelling to some jurors for addressing the theme of growth in a simple, beautiful and accessible work. Some jurors were uncomfortable with the scale and felt that other proposals addressed a broader range of themes more specific to the Market. The work was not as well received as other proposals in public consultation. This work was therefore scored lower. 

Goods of Weight (avoirdupois) by Ingrid Mayrhofer 
The jury and members of the public complemented this proposal for being the only one that proposed a functional aspect by including bicycle racks. They felt that the use of baskets to recall many themes relating to the Market was a simple and effective response to the project goals. However, the jury felt that this work was not as ambitious as some of the other proposals. The work was also not as well received as other proposals in public consultation. This work was therefore scored lower. 

To Market by Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky
The jury commended the artists of this proposal for their obvious talent as sculptors. This is a beautiful and detailed work that successfully addressed many aspects of the project goal. However, the jury felt that although tall the work would not have the presence on the street of the Hind proposal. The work was also not as well received as other proposals in public consultation. This work was therefore scored lower. 

The Jury

  • Paul Elia - Artist 
  • Sylvia Nickerson - Beasley Neighbourhood Association/Artist 
  • Donna Reid - City of Hamilton Arts Advisory Commission 
  • Breann Ritchie - Hamilton Arts Council/Artist 
  • Jules Gauthier - Market Stall Holder 
  • Chris Cutler - Friends of the Market 
  • Ian Walker - Market Stall Holder Worker 


Ken Coit - Manager
Placemaking, Public Art & Projects
Tourism & Culture Division, City of Hamilton
28 James Street North, 2nd Floor
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 6281
Email: [email protected]