Top
Advertisement

Public Art Wood Buffalo Street Banner Program

The Public Art Street Banner Program was launched in 2013 and aims to showcase the creative talents of local residents of all ages throughout the region.

The selected designs are digitally reproduced and hung as banners to increase vibrancy to the Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo streetscapes.

Dancing Sky

by Marina Swagers, Fort McMurray

Reaching for the Sky

by Barbara Madden, Saprae Creek

This image is inspired by snow, skiing, northern spirt and the Arctic Winter Games. It is sunrise/sunset on a cold winter day. Snow has sprayed up, rising like bubbles from under her skis as she slows from great speeds. One arm and pole are in the air in a gesture of victory and celebration. The Arctic Winter Games emblem glows above her heart. It is a picture of resolve, determination, joy, and potential: all part of the Northern Spirit.

The Peace Within

by Angie Steil, Anzac

This image is inspired by snow, skiing, northern spirt and the Arctic Winter Games. It is sunrise/sunset on a cold winter day. Snow has sprayed up, rising like bubbles from under her skis as she slows from great speeds. One arm and pole are in the air in a gesture of victory and celebration. The Arctic Winter Games emblem glows above her heart. It is a picture of resolve, determination, joy, and potential: all part of the Northern Spirit.

Artworks are reviewed through a community-focused Selection Panel and local creatives are asked to create a new look from a design theme each year.  This year the Street Banner Design Theme is Home—home is where the heart is—it’s a place where you feel most at ease, and at peace.  Whether it be a place, a person, a thing, a memory or a feeling; home is unique to you. The deadline to submit designs was June 2, 2023, and we’re excited to see and share the works of art that have been developed through reflection on such a personal theme.

You’ve probably noticed these banners transforming the streets and gateways in the urban and rural communities into welcoming and engaging spaces for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. Last year’s theme was titled Northern Spirit. In 2022, artists were invited to share a design that captures our Northern Spirit and showcases the dynamic cultural fabric of the region. Wood Buffalo has a strong vibrant culture that supports a region with a long and rich history. This theme encouraged artists to reflect on the coming together of community through several events like the Arctic Winter Games and the International Decade of Indigenous Languages.

The images reflected the strong Indigenous history of Wood Buffalo and demonstrates that people and place are inseparable, or in other words, connection to land is central to identity. It’s been recognized that Indigenous People’s histories, stories, and heritage are not reflected or appropriately represented in the region. Understanding that this is Treaty 8 territory, the ancestral and traditional land of the Cree, Dene, and Métis people, it is important to work with Indigenous communities and partners to embrace Indigenous presence and knowledge while reclaiming public spaces as sites of reconciliation.

The Wood Buffalo Public Art Plan is based on the belief that public art inspires artists and communities to rethink the use of public space, allowing for free and creative expression in ways that reflect a community’s sense of place and identity. Its central tenet is a means to explore questions around our relationship to place and what we want that place to be like, it is as much about the built environment as it is about the cultural environment.

With the acknowledgement that Indigenous Peoples hold the cartography of memory to land and place, this plan aims to learn from the teachings of Indigenous Peoples—to balance reclamation of identity, spirit, pride, knowledge, and experience—by providing opportunities for settler culture to re-think the processes that inform community identity. As reflected within the RMWB organizational priorities, the Wood Buffalo Public Art Program demonstrates a commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, using Art as a medium to advance several of the calls to action. This is one way that the RMWB aims to work together to decolonize processes to understand how to best support Indigenous communities in the restoration and reclamation of relationships to the land.

Between 2014 and 2021, over 150 banners were installed throughout Fort McMurray and rural communities in the region.

The artworks featured in this article are from Artists in the Rural Communities were selected for the 2022 Street Banner Program.

About the author

Author Profile
Janine Kruse
Review
5
Location
YMM Weekly
We bring you the current, the quirky, and the uniquely Fort McMurray what’s-a-shakin’s.

Subscribe now so you don’t miss out on all the latest news, stories and fun in YMM!

No, thank you. I do not want.
Safe & Secure - No spam!