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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