The City of Nanaimo is disposing of three long-standing outdoor public art installations showing “significant” wear and tear.
At their Governance and Priorities Committee meeting on March 22, city councilors voted to remove Dan Richey’s Dungeness Crab sculpture, which has been in Maffeo Sutton Park since, from the city’s public art collection. 2013, as well as the Hummingbird Project, created in 2013 by artist Yvonne Pupils at Vander Kooi and Bayview Elementary, and Vander Kooi’s 2007 work At Play, both of which are painted panels in Deverill Square Park.
“The reason for the disengagement of each of them is linked to their life cycle and to the fact that in the years which have elapsed since their installation, severe weather conditions have caused degradation of the materials,” said Julie. Bevan, responsible for the city’s events and culture, in his presentation to councilors. .
Bevan added that the works were all designed to be temporary and that artists were contacted to possibly salvage the materials.
A report to the council notes that the crab was first installed as part of the city’s temporary public art program in 2013, but after its removal, its popularity prompted the city to purchase the piece.
“After an additional seven years of display, its surface treatment has eroded considerably,” the report states. “He also suffered significant damage to the front claw. We expect a further deterioration in the appearance of the work.
The Hummingbird Project and At Play both hang from the fences at Deverill Square Park. The report describes the two installations as having “reached the end of their useful life”.
“Certainly all three were thoughtful and skillful contributions to the public sphere by Nanaimo artists and works that were highly regarded in the places they occupied,” said Bevan. “We know they will be missed.”
After the presentation, Mayor Leonard Krog moved the motion “with a certain sense of sadness but a recognition of the reality that nothing lasts forever”. Com. Zeni Maartman said she walks past the artwork every day and hopes to see new public and country arts. Erin Hemmens spoke about the installation of The Hummingbird Project.
“I have a picture of my three year old with a drill and Yvonne setting them up in Deverill Square and my oldest son was one of the artists,” she said. “The art in this park is really a part of this neighborhood and I’m happy to see that we’re taking care of it and… there’s an appetite for more public art, especially there.”
To view detailed photos of deleted artwork, Click here.