(Launch Time by Mel Bolen, Charley Farrero, Michael Hosaluk, Sean Whalley)
Permanent Public Art Collection
Saskatoon's permanent collection numbers 40 outdoor works of art, most of which were acquired by donation. Several major pieces were commissioned and purchased with funding from the Government of Canada as a result of Saskatoon being named a Cultural Capital of Canada in 2006.
"The Coming Spring" Reconciliation Commemorative Artwork
“The Coming Spring,” by Canadian artist, Gordon Reeve, was commissioned by the Saskatoon Tribal Council and the City of Saskatoon, with funding from the Government of Canada through the Canada 150 Fund. Its creation is in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, No. 79: Participate in a strategy to commemorate the contributions and history of Aboriginal peoples to Canada.
The 27-foot tall arch and two spires are constructed entirely of stainless steel that reflects the sun and moon. The longer 47-foot spire, pointing north, symbolically represents the First Nations’ long history. The 39-foot spire, pointing south, symbolically represents the history of the Métis Nation. Suspended high on each spire are moving chimes. The rustling and bell-like sounds the chimes make suggest the voices of children heard at a distance, representing the children taken by the residential system from all of the communities in Treaty Six Territory.
Mr. Reeve’s concept was selected from a list of three finalists by a group of stakeholders that included residential school survivors, First Nations and Métis Elders. This recommendation was reviewed and unanimously approved by the City’s Public Art Advisory Committee.
“The Coming Spring” is located within Reconciliation Circle in Victoria Park, north of the festival site and east of Spadina Crescent West. The location was identified by First Nations and Métis Elders as having particular significance because it has been the site of two reconciliation gatherings, is large enough to accommodate community events, and has a view of the park, trees, and South Saskatchewan River.
The artwork was installed in May 2018 and was officially unveiled during a special ceremony on June 20, 2018, as a symbol of reconciliation.
Since 2015, the City has been working with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc., Office of the Treaty Commission, and other community groups, leaders, and institutions in Saskatchewan, to promote reconciliation.
Hyde Park Public Art Project
In the 1960s a number of artists in Britain, the United States and Canada revolutionized the medium of sculpture by moving away from modelled, figurative works cast in bronze or carved in marble. Artists instead created large, abstract sculptures made of prefabricated steel and aluminum. British sculptor Anthony Caro (1924-2013) was the innovator in this way of working. Caro’s influence was strongly felt in Canada, especially on the Prairies, where his approach to sculpture was popular with young artists who saw potential in rusty old equipment found in farmers’ fields.
The Remai Modern Art Gallery collection contains a number of excellent examples of modernist sculpture by Canadian and international artists. Thanks to a partnership between the Remai Modern, the Public Art Advisory Committee and the City's Parks and Community Development Divisions, four sculptures (three by Edmonton artist Peter Hide and one by Saskatoon artist Douglas Bentham) are now on exhibit in the western portion of Hyde Park in the Lakewood Suburban Centre.
The sculptures will be on exhibit until September 2024.
Placemaker Temporary Public Art Program
The City, in collaboration with the Business Improvement Districts, manages the Placemaker Program to add significance to civic spaces through temporary public art. These temporary exhibits transform public spaces and engage with audiences to promote an appreciation for contemporary art practices. All artwork is considered annually and selected by the Public Art Advisory Committee. Artists can submit any medium. Preference is given to submissions by emerging artists and pieces that reflect Saskatoon's unique sense of place through its people, history, culture, or landscape.
2020 Placemaker Project
“Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam 1, 2, and 3” by Ruth Cuthand and Suada Jailan, curated by Dr. Jen Budney, consists of three hand-painted aluminum sculptures composed of floral motives inspired by both Cree/Michif beadwork and traditional East African henna design. The title, “Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam” translates to “Happiness of the heart/They are joyful or fun-loving.
The sculpture locations are as follows:
- “Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam 1” will be installed in the Broadway BID at Main Street and Broadway Avenue in summer 2021
- “Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam 2” is currently on view in the Riversdale BID at 602 20th Street West
- “Saadat Qalbi/Miyawâtam 3” will be installed soon in the Downtown BID at 241 Second Avenue
The artists created these artworks to acknowledge the importance of floral imagery in cultures throughout the world and celebrate the labour of women in social reproduction, which is the teaching, care work, and nurturing done to keep communities and societies cohesive and strong. They are also pointing to the possibilities for innovation through collaboration and cultural cross-pollination in Saskatoon.
Saskatoon based curator Dr. Jen Budney was selected from a group of highly qualified applicants and awarded the first ever curatorial contract for the Placemaker Program in 2019. Dr. Budney envisioned a project involving professional artists collaborating with community members to create art works that are truly reflective of the place that is Saskatoon. She met with leaders from the Broadway Business Improvement District, DTNYXE, and the Riversdale Business Improvement District and listened to their desire to have public art that was colourful, would make people smile in the winter, and would tie the three business districts together.
Artists Ruth Cuthand and Suada Jailan
Ruth Cuthand, winner of a 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts – Canada’s highest honour for an artist – first agreed to take part in the project. Working with the Open Door Society, Dr. Budney paired Ms. Cuthand with master henna artist Suada Jailan. Ms. Cuthand was born in Saskatchewan and is of Plains Cree, Scottish, and Irish ancestry. Ms. Jailan is Barawa, from Somalia, and grew up as a refugee in Kenya. Both artists currently reside in Saskatoon.
These joyful and colourful pieces were created with the design, fabrication, and preparatory assistance of Saskatoon architect and designer Henry Lau. The metal was fabricated at the Riverbend Hutterite metal shop near Waldheim, Saskatchewan and was welded together by Ryan Gross.
2017 Placemaker Projects
- We are the River by Susan Shantz and Barbara Reimer, Downtown & Riversdale
This art project aims to highlight the vital connection between Saskatoon residents and the South Saskatchewan River. Photos of people holding statements about their personal and collective relationship with the river have been taken at various events throughout the summer and are being displayed on billboards in the downtown and Riversdale areas, as well as on social media.
- Mino Pimatiziwin (A Good Life) – Rise from Water by Emmanuel Jarus, First Nations Bank (224 - 4th Avenue South)
The large-scale mural concept was developed in consultation with a Creative Input Group from Yellow Quill First Nation and strives to capture the importance of the healing and recovery process through reconciliation. The mural features a young Indigenous family, a connection that needs to be rebuilt and instilled into the future. The four elements of life are represented by the four colours (yellow, blue, red, and white) weaved through the baby’s moss bag. The red ribbon in the woman’s hair is a tribute to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement.
- Missaskwatoomina View by Erin Siddall and Sean Arden, originally located at River Landing
A large-scale camera obscura that projects images onto a screen inside a 20-foot shipping container. This temporary art installation invites participants to take part in a slow, engaged viewing experience that reflects on the varied histories of the area. These histories include those of the Northern Plains Indigenous peoples, the fur trade, the arrival of settlers and colonists, contentious bridge crossings, the transport of goods, and the changing cultural landscape of Riversdale.
- River and Sky a collaboration project by artists Tony Stallard, Joseph Naytowhaw and Kenneth T. Williams, Saskatchewan Craft Council (813 Broadway Avenue)
This contemporary urban light sculpture features Cree syllabics that can be translated to ‘sîpiy mîna kîsik’ meaning River and Sky. The intention of River and Sky was to create a poetic site-specific artwork that reflects the sacred and ritualistic space of Treaty 6. The artwork connects to the Treaty relationship referencing “as long as the river flows, the grass grows and the sun shines.” These words remind us this is a permanent relationship and that the Treaty is meant to live for generations and generations. The sculpture also embodies the historic importance of the Elders’ meeting place near the river, and as a contemporary location to gather, meet, and socialize. This is a ‘sister work’ to Land of the Berries, currently installed on the north-facing wall of the Persephone Theatre.
2016 Placemaker Projects
- Birdo, River Reflection, River Landing
- Craig Campbell, Priscilla, Queen of the Prairies, Broadway
- Heike Fink, Catch YOUR Dream, 33rd Street
- Cate Francis, The Paper Wildlife Conservancy, throughout all BIDs
- Jason Gress, Coming Soon (Stoon), Broadway & Downtown
- Darren Gowan, The Bison Are Coming Home, Sutherland
- Josh Jacobson, Habitual Synthesis, Downtown
- Jeremy Tsang, An Eastern Dream of the West, Riversdale
Archive Placemaker Program Portfolio
On March 10, 2017 the City unveiled its 20th Anniversary Placemaker Artwork Catalogue! This catalogue showcases the collection of temporary public artworks that were part of the City's Placemaker Program from 1994 to 2015. It is available online and at every Saskatoon Public Library branch.
Summary by Jinzhe Cui
66 Physiognomies by Jinzhe Cui
Der Vogelhandler by Mark Prier
Der Vogelhandler by Mark Prier
The Faces by Adrian Bica and Dimitri Karopoulos
Like a Rolling Stone - Be Part of Art by Heike Fink
We Are All Linked by Monique Martin
Cacher pour mieux montrer by Sans façon
Found Compressions One & Two by Keeley Haftner
Commemorations and Monuments
A commemoration is the honouring of the memory of a person, place, event, or idea. Generally speaking, commemorations are public, tangible and of significant interest or meaning to residents of Saskatoon. In 2013, Saskatoon City Council adopted a comprehensive policy to govern requests for commemorative art, statues, and monuments in Saskatoon.
Individuals and organizations interested in funding, designing and donating a public commemoration or monument are strongly encouraged to first read the Step by Step Guide to Commemorations in Saskatoon.