Last year The Arts Station celebrated its 20th Anniversary. To commemorate this milestone it was decided that our inaugural Public Art Project would be given to the City of Fernie, for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors. The Arts Station has received so much community support over the years that we wanted to give something back. We hope that this will be the first of many Public Art projects.
A call for entry was put out for all interested local and provincial artists and we received many amazing entries. The Arts Station was dedicated to finding a project that would instill a sense of place and relevance. “Patterns on Ice,” a mural from artists Rosa Quintana and Mike Edwards of Agassiz, B.C. was selected by our jury panel. The mural is located on the Highway 3 side of the arena and is directly derived from the marks that people make when using the public ice rink. As Quintana remarks, “people will recognize their part in making these patterns on the ice. Our project will take a general and abstracted overview of marks made on ice which represent all Canadians who participate in winter sports. Lines left on the landscape remember the joy of our path as we skate, ski or toboggan. The process of making ice and the graceful marks and cuts are all part of a Canadian winter tradition.”
Public Art is truly a community initiative as The Arts Station was assisted throughout the entire process by a group of local art ambassadors who tirelessly fundraised, spread the word and created enthusiasm for this project. Three people in particular, Oz Parsons, Gail Adams and Angela Morgan were instrumental in the success of this project and it is their dedication to the creation and installation of art in Fernie’s public spaces that made this dream a reality. From conception to the final brushstroke, this effort is a wonderful example of local leaders joining with artists to create public artwork that reflects the diversity and vision of the community.
The impact of public art on a community is immeasurable, and once invested in it only appreciates. Art can help define Fernie’s identity, as the town grows. Public Art, by its definition and presence alone, has the power to heighten our awareness, express community values and enhance the city’s image; it is a true symbol of our civic pride. Fernie is a place of passions and this amazing piece, “Patterns on Ice” is a way of expressing the true nature of our traditions, successes and aspirations.
The Arts Station would like to extend a huge thank you to the City of Fernie, its civic workers, the Art Ambassadors, Oz, Gail and Angela, Rosa and Mike. They have all worked long hours (sometimes throughout the night and in all types of weather, in the case of Rosa and Mike) in an effort to foster and support the growth of arts and culture at The Arts Station in Fernie for over 20 years.