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Developers of Urban Art: Q&A with Linda Warth

Developers of Urban Art:  Q&A with Linda Warth, Vice-President of Planning & Development at Lanterra

We had a quick chat with Linda Warth, to learn about how developers and planners play an important role in fostering art in the new spaces of our evolving city.
How does public art get approved?
LW: We work with our Public Art Consultant to create a Public Art Plan. The Public Art Plan provides a vision for the art, proposed locations on the development site, an estimated budget and oftentimes a list of artists. The Public Art Plan is presented and approved by the City’s Public Art Commission and City Council.  Following approval, we send out an invitation to the artists. Interested Artists submit a conceptual idea for the public art based on the information within the Public Art Plan. A jury process is held, and is usually made up of one or two art experts (including one who also resides in the Ward), together with the Developer and Architect. Finally, an artist is selected.

What relationship does the developer have with promoting art in the public spaces in a project? 
LW: A developer understands that public art brings an essential value to their project. Twonderful attribute for their marketing program. It also provides a great civic contribution.

How important is public art to the atmosphere of a space/building?
It is very important as it provides a cultural benefit not just for the users of the space but for the City itself.  Generations to come will also enjoy the art…It makes for great city-building.

What is your favourite public art installation?
That is so difficult. I have so many favourites!  There are so many interesting public art projects.  I am very intrigued by art installations that tell a story. ICE’s Dream House is created by Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, a married couple from London, England with an intriguing personal journey that brought them together over 20 years ago. We are currently filming a documentary about the making of the Dream House which will tell this story and its connection to the Dream House.

We have a second smaller public art project also underway by a local artist, David Trautrimas, which is currently being fabricated. It will include benches within the courtyard and an intricately designed screen along the south linear walkway. Both of these installations will serve a function but also be public art installations. They will have references to the Gardiner Expressway which has an expression within the design. You will have to wait to see this one!

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