Bringing art to life in your community

Plains Road Median

Public feedback is now closed.  Thank you to everyone who submitted feedback on the three short-listed designs.  The selected artwork will be announced in October 2017.

A public art project is being planned for the median on Plains Road near the intersection at Francis Road.  A community jury has selected three art proposals to move forward to the short list. Public consultation took place from July 25 – August 14, 2017.  The jury will now evaluate the three proposals, along with public feedback to make the final selection.

The following proposals are under consideration:

Concept #1:  Karl Ciesluk – The Orchard

Having researched Aldershot’s past, I found that it had a strong agricultural past, especially in tree fruit farming. Around the 1830s, hard-working farm families like the Gallaghers and Emerys surrounded themselves with thousands of acres of orchards.

So, I have decided to create three site-specific fruit tree sculptures to represent the many orchards that used to dot this region’s landscape. Hanging from the trees will be concrete apples that are partially gold-dipped to represent the wealth that the fruit industry has brought to Burlington over the years and helped it into the thriving place that it is today.

I see my tree imagery as a symbol for growth and renewal – a perfect symbol of the revitalization of the Plains Road corridor that is being transformed – just like that of a fruit seed that waits for the right conditions to grow and flourish: A continual cycle of life, dormancy and revitalization, as with any civilization, city or town.

My proposal is an original contemporary piece of artwork that the young and old, plus visitors to Burlington, can identify with and enjoy. It is also a reminder of, and tribute to, Burlington’s agricultural past where farming within the city did not end until 1967, when the last cash crop farm within the city of Burlington was transformed into the Burlington Mall.

Concept #2:  Studio F Minus – MILK RUN

MILK RUN references the history of the Plains Road, and offers a glimpse of its future. Over 100 years ago, Lot 1 of Plains Road was the site of John Rendall Job’s dairy farm. The site where our artwork stands was, at that time, a shipping route for delivering Job’s milk to Toronto. Today, Plains Road is witness to an exciting period of residential and commer­cial development, transforming this once-thoroughfare into a place that is no longer an “in-between,” but now a true “place” — a main artery for a blossoming community.

This series of colourful sculptures can be interpreted in different ways at different scales, depending on the approach of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. For anyone zooming by in a hurry, this artwork provides a playful splash of colour in the middle of the road. Looking from afar, these sculptures resemble houses, with pitched roofs and square bases, arranged like a new neighborhood sprouting right in the middle of the road. Com­ing closer, the same sculptures are revealed as milk cartons, referencing the distant past, when this road was John Rendall Job’s milk delivery route.

Studio F Minus believes that artworks can tell complicated stories, and that the great advantage of public art is that, as people experience them over long periods of time and as part of their everyday lives, those stories can reveal themselves slowly, and through repeat viewings. In that spirit, we’ve designed MILK RUN so that it tells different stories from different perspectives.

Concept #3:  Xiaojing Yan – Dwelling

“Dwelling” has six house shapes made of stainless steel in different sizes distributed over the median, and can be appreciated at a number of vantage points. The artwork creates an identifying marker for the community to engage with, therefore creating a sense of community identity and belonging.

Travel and cultural diversity all contribute to the formation of my artistic imagery. Applying these ideas through an additional concept – belonging – led me to the image of a house. A house creates a sense of place, belonging and home. Across different cultures, the theme of “home” infuses both high and popular culture. The notion of home can relate to sites of memory, family histories, social comment, and environmental issues. Our relationship with houses involves complex responses in which gender, race, class, and status overlap, and through these relationships we turn a house into a home. I want to use the house idea to create a sense of community identity and belonging.

I first came to know Burlington by visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens. With floral patterns, I turned this house image into the greenhouse to honor the RBG. Plants and green spaces are known to improve health, inspire physical activity, contemplation and recreation, and bring people together. A greenhouse also suggests an evolving social metaphor of sustainability and self-sufficiency, which is popular in modern culture.

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