Temporary Art

Public art is part of the ‘software’ of East Village – it helps give the neighbourhood its look, feel and character. For the New Central Library, 1% of the project budget has been allocated to two important public art initiatives managed under CMLC’s robust Art in the Public Realm program for East Village. To inspire visitors even before the new library opens its doors, CMLC has commissioned local artists to create temporary installations for the construction fencing along 3rd Street SE between 7th and 9th avenues. The first, by local artist Serena Malyon, went up in October 2014 and lived around the perimeter of NCL for 18 months. The second artwork, created by local artist collective Light & Soul, was installed in 2016 and will remain for approximately 28 months. The second dimension of Art in the Public Realm for the NCL involves the creation of permanent public art to beautify, enliven and activate various spaces within the new library complex.

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Permanent Public Art

In July 2014, CMLC issued a Request for Qualifications inviting all locally, nationally and internationally qualified artists to apply. Through a robust and multi-staged selection process which was informed by the City of Calgary’s Public Art Program, the responses CMLC received—239 in total—were first narrowed to a list of 35. The task of establishing a shortlist to then advance to a Request for Proposals (RFP) stage was guided by a Volunteer Art Committee comprising a community resident, an artist and representative from ACAD, a curator from Glenbow Museum, a rep from Calgary Public Library and a rep from Calgary Arts Development organization. Non-voting members/observers included reps from CMLC, City of Calgary Public Art Program and the NCL design team.

The five finalists—all of whom have national/international careers, work in a variety of media and have experience with public art projects and museum and gallery work—went through a detailed orientation with members of the NCL project team, various representatives from Calgary Public Library, a local historian and the design team to ensure a thorough understanding of the NCL vision, site and building design. Each artist then developed and presented their concepts to the committee.

In April 2015, in consultation with non-voting members, the committee selected Christian Moeller for his proposal to create an iconic outdoor three-piece sculpture suite and an interior installation for the New Central Library. His colourful, captivating concepts bring a playfulness to the library experience–a delightful sense of arrival and wonder for all visitors to enjoy, especially children.

Christian's exterior three-piece sculpture— “TRIO”—will be installed on the library’s east and west outdoor plaza spaces. Each piece measure nine to 10 metres tall and moves like a pendulum to create a visual choreography.

His interior installation— “FISH”—is a book wall that employs nearly 11,000 books whose spines, in 12 different colours, create the image of a fish. This work of art measures approximately three metres (10 feet) tall by 14 m (45 ft) wide and it will be located on the third floor of the library.