Kelowna: a Tale of Two Cities

Here’s what the City of Kelowna (the big smoke down the valley) says about public art. Ahem…

Public art is about more than beautification. Public art stimulates, entertains, instructs and, occasionally, provokes its audience. Endlessly diverse and adaptable, public art can engage us from above our heads or under our feet. Direct contact between art and visitor in an open space, free of gallery walls, is public art’s greatest gift and this gift is best enjoyed when we shed our routine expectations of urban space.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have shed. Here is a pic of downtown Kelowna I took on Thursday Evening.


Kelowna Rooftop, Unsigned Installation

If that isn’t art, I don’t know what is. Well, let’s let the city fill us in, shall we?

Public art, like other art forms, continues to evolve. No longer confined to monumental sculptures in prominent locations, contemporary public art inspires new perspectives of, and interactions with, public places. Artists provide unique interpretations of sites and play a key role in engaging the public’s imagination. Audiences and communities are becoming active participants in the public art process by voicing a diversity of local concerns and stories and occasionally lending many hands to the creation of the work itself.

Darn it, you know, I think they meant this:

P1250644Human Shadow Figures: Installation With Cardboard and Spray Paint

This isn’t in any cow town boogie back corner of the beyond of nowhere, this is 1 block off of downtown’s main street of coffee bars, funky restaurants and bling. You know what? I think they had this in mind:

fruitsBeautiful! An apple with a peach pit for a core, mating with a pear. Excellent. I really love this piece. But did you catch the fine print? No doubt you are reading this on your android artificial human thingie, so let me help:

The large, smoothed, precise forms evoke the bold eroticism of fruit and celebrate its formal beauty.

Fruit has a bold eroticism? EGAD! I thought it was, you know, just swollen stems and ovaries and stuff. Sheesh. Ahem, isn’t it people who have a bold eroticism? Such as, ahem, here?
P1250622Oh, sorry. Those teeny little android thingies. Here:



OK, here’s the thing. I think the public art of Kelowna is largely beautiful and moving stuff, but I also think it’s very Middle Class, and that while the Middle Class of Retired Canada is making  images like this:

rotaryand presenting their wit and joy on one of the world’s ugliest websites (Sorry, Kelowna, but it’s true.), the non-privileged classes are making art of their own:


And I am wondering why the City of Kelowna is not celebrating those citizens with joy.


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