King William Art Walk Public Art Project

The City of Hamilton is currently undertaking a public art process to commission a permanent public art work(s) for the King William Street Art Walk to be located in a public space(s) along King William Street between James Street North and Ferguson Avenue.

Report

A focus group was held on November 10, 2014 to determine goals and themes that artists will be asked to address in their submissions to this competition.

Monday November 10, 2014 at 7 pm
The Lister Block, 28 James Street North, Hamilton, Room B05

Attendees

  • Lorna Zaremba - Theatre Aquarius/ Local Business 
  • Susie Braithwaite - International Village BIA /King William Art Walk Committee 
  • Evan Apostal - Downtown Hamilton BIA/ King William Art Walk Committee 
  • Steve Kulakowsky - Core Urban Inc./ Local Business 
  • Tyler Tekatch - Artist/ Local Business 
  • Dane Pedersen - Hamilton Arts Council/Arts Professional/Local Resident 
  • Sylvia Nickerson - Artist/ Local Resident 
  •  Ken Coit - City of Hamilton, Facilitator 
  • Stephanie Vegh -Hamilton Arts Council, Facilitator 

Regrets

  • Emily Groom - Steel Lounge/ Local Business 
  • Grant Winestock - Baltimore House/ Local Business 
  • Jimmy Skembaris - Baltimore House/ Local Business 
  • Yvonne Felix - Artist

Purpose

To determine themes and/or goals, in keeping with the values and characteristics of the King William Art Walk and project parameters that artists making submissions to the competition will use to inspire and inform their proposals. 

Background

Ken Coit provided an overview of the project site, scope, budget and selection process. The project budget is $70,000 of which $55,000 is allocated for artist’s fees, fabrication and delivery to the site and $15,000 for installation, honorariums and costs related to running the call. The site for the work addresses the expanse of King William Street from James Street to Ferguson Avenue and will be limited to City-owned sidewalks while respecting the accessibility and service requirements of Public Works. Stephanie Vegh provided examples of themes and goals from other Public Art projects to provide context for the group’s consideration. 

Question 

Focus group members were asked to address the following question:

What types of public art are appropriate for King William Street? What are the important qualities and characteristics of the King William Art Walk area and community that artists submitting to the competition should address? 

Discussion

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

  • “The entertainment district” / “The theatre district” 
  • Theatre patrons at one end (Ferguson), music bars and restaurants at the other (James-John) 
  • Diversity 
  • Railway history 
  • New vibrancy as new venues open (Steel Lounge) 
  • Inter-generational 
  • Performance 
  • Not a lot of bike racks on the street; new SoBi rack on Ferguson not immediately accessible; would like to see funky, colourful bike racks 
  • Something interactive that invites performance 
  • Funky lighting; the street is well used at night so lighting would create a safer environment while designating the whole street/district 
  • Something that connects the whole street 
  • Create “bookends” with lighting 
  • King William is challenged by unfriendly middle space between centres of gravity established at James and Ferguson 
  • Could we use existing street lights or add new infrastructure? 
  • Gateway/entrance at both ends to connect the district 
  • Prefer aesthetic over functional work, allows for greater creativity 
  • Transformation 
  • Idea of bookends is rich artistic territory, like the idea of pairing, especially since this 
  • Could create balance/equality between the two participating BIAs 
  • A weird street, interrupted by empty lots; a lot of unusable space that needs “neat forms”, something to cut up the voids on the street, not necessarily monumental 
  • Small pieces, creating visual movement 
  • Something that promotes exploration and encourages people to move through space 
  • King William is quiet, a more intimate walk compared to using King Street 
  • King William feels smaller, safer"
  • "A people place” – one that is unique in Hamilton
  • Walkability 
  • Can hear things when walking on King William, senses are alive 
  • History of old demolished theatres 
  • Could it be a sound piece? Something using both sound and light? 
  • Something experiential, non-traditional to reflect renewal happening on the street 
  • The street is very different during the daytime vs. nighttime; a light piece would need to work at both times, show transition between day and night activity 
  • Something that alludes to nightlife 
  • Recent Fringe Festival and outdoor projection activity suggests lots of opportunity for temporal and temporary arts 
  • Kinetic, wind-propelled art could be another way to animate the street 

Priorities

The group worked together reviewing the results of the discussion to identify the most appropriate goals and themes for a new permanent work. The following were developed: 

The work should consider the role of King William Street as a “performing arts district” and should address one or more of the following characteristics: 

  • Bookends/ connections between both ends of the street 
  • Performance and interactive experiences 
  • A shared, pedestrian-friendly people place 
  • A destination and gathering place 

Next steps

The priority statements resulting from this focus group along with technical and site criteria will be used by the City to develop a Call for Artists Document. The City will also develop a short history of the area to be included in the call document to inform artists’ proposals. It is anticipated that this call will be issued by the City, pending internal City approvals. 

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