Arts

Concrete Poetry Wins Locke Street Art Project

By RTH Staff
Published December 10, 2009

Local artist Simon Frank has won the Locke Street Art Project for his submission, titled "Concrete Poetry", in which a poem is distributed along the Locke Street in small bronze plaques embedded into the sidewalk. Mr. Frank will be awarded $40,000 for the commission.

Frank wrote in his submission [PDF link]:

Just as Locke Street is unlike any other street in Hamilton, CONCRETE POETRY is not an ordinary or conventional public artwork. It does not function as just a decorative sculpture, installed in the public space. Instead it will work to activate the entire site by directly engaging people and guiding them towards a more poetic encounter with the street. It invites people to become participants in the work, rather than simply viewers.

A volunteer jury composed of local business owners and artists selected Frank's submission from among the three finalists, which also included "hOley pOley" by Philip Toms and "Untitled" by Bryce Kanbara and Brian Kelly. The volunteer jury evaluated the entries based on artistic excellence, response to context, public safety and ongoing maintenance.

While "hOley pOley" received a clear majority of votes among the 570 people who responded to the public opinion survey, the jury was concerned that the installations, which encourage people to attach posters, signs, planters and other artifacts to them, "could result in poles that look marked, messy and cluttered."

At the same time, "Untitled" "dealt with larger themes about nature and the urban environment and did not specifically address the diverse social and interactive context of Locke Street".

The original idea for the art project emerged from a focus group [PDF link] in January that identified the particular characteristics of Locke Street that make it a destination - intimate, walkable, mixed, independent, welcoming, community atmosphere - and a public art ideas charette [PDF link] that identified common themes and recommended that the art installation should be a series of pieces dispersed along the street.

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By jason (registered) | Posted December 10, 2009 at 15:49:48

without trying to offend Simon Frank in any way, I'm a little perplexed at this decision given the mandate from the focus group desiring to see something mixed, welcoming and helping to make Locke a destination.

Perhaps I'm not envisioning this properly, but if it's just sidewalk plaques, I don't see that adding much to life on Locke.

A few cool, hip sculptures in various spots on the street would have been neat. Heck, even the nature piece with animal sculptures along street poles is at least visually eye-catching without being over the top like holey poley.

Regardless, I'm a huge fan of public art and don't want to sound critical. Hamilton has a serious lack of public art and I will gladly welcome any addition to the fold regardless of how large or small it may be. That's the beauty of public art - it's interpreted differently by everyone.

Congrats to Simon.

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By Slim Volumes (anonymous) | Posted December 10, 2009 at 17:51:28

Congrats to Simon Frank and the committee that selected his proposal. A great, multi-media interpretation of public art. Unique, as far as I know, but then that's true of all of Simon's work: uniquely engaging. I look forward to walking Locke (again) and reading Simon's poetry (again.)

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By everywhere (anonymous) | Posted December 14, 2009 at 16:04:51

I don't know if I can opinionize this. I took the info & was confused. I would have loved to be part of this somehow and have several ideas but....I get lucky now & again.

Hopefully I can focus one way or another with my art abilities and be accepted/recognized here in my born city. Even though I won twice almost in a row for two separate paintings at same Art Centre, the only exposure I got is in the newsletter. In other words, ask any1(or most)..."have U heard of......?" anyway, I don't need to be anonymous it's just fun and not about me!

I will say this(hope I didn't repeat this)....is a giveaway who I am as I have art displayed at The Hive though sales way low for my art even after lowering my prices...

The Hive is doing very well for people/consumers spend up to $30. Many candles are just few bucks. They are moving to Ottawa St Jan. This place is owned by couple very very cool people and the odor reminds me of Zen (formerly Hemp store)...These candles made from pure bee's wax apparently remove bad crap/odors from the air.

I don't mind the move as far more space I learned at their new store on Ottawa St not far off Barton St.

I also learned 2 groups control Locke St & there's a conflict of interest?

I know the one group owns several buildings....I assume some1 from this list knows more than me .....














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By money for beer (anonymous) | Posted December 16, 2009 at 13:48:32

$40,000 for some plaques???

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