I recently joined the Artist File of the Art and Architecture Integration Policy, a policy of the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications that allocates part of the budget (around 1 %) for construction or expansion of a government building or public place to the commission or purchase of artwork for these places. Quebec adopted this formidable measure back in 1961. Today, approximately 3 500 works of art steaming from this policy form a rich cultural heritage throughout the province. Now that I'm part of the 1 % artists pool, I can occasionally be called upon to submit works for subsidized architectural projects.
Public art often takes on monumental dimensions. The challenge is to create very large pieces that are both durable and virtually maintenance free. The vast majority of requests involve 3D sculptural works. Only about 10 % of projects incorporate photography.
For each project, a committee invites between 3 and 5 artists to submit works. The selection process is like a contest with a jury that picks the wining art work.
Art at school
I received my fist notification to submit this winter. It was very exciting! I was asked to present a piece destined for a staircase in a Montreal elementary school. Since none of my picture files were large enough - the wall space to cover measured 2 meters by 2,5 meters -, I ended up hiring out a high-performance camera and organizing an outdoor photo shoot on my front lawn. Luckily there wasn't much snow and it wasn't too cold out, but it was still chilly for my young models, Inès and Nathan, who played along admirably.
In the end, my image wasn't chosen. Despite my disappointment, it was a great first experience. I hope I'll once again have the chance to participate in 1 % public art projects. After all, for an artist, what's better than having the opportunity to introduce art in people's everyday life?
Below are the mock-ups I created to give an idea of what my image would have looked like once installed in the space.