Bloom: Radiant Art Meets Placemaking

Whimsical form will accompany impressive function when Michel de Broin’s Bloom sculpture comes to a revitalized St. Patrick’s Island. The city’s newest regional park, St. Patrick’s Island will open – offering 31 acres of recreation and relaxation – later this summer. 

de Broin unveiled Bloom at CMLC’s first ever Placemakers event at Theatre Junction Grand on May 19, an evening dedicated to examining how CMLC is delivering the vision of East Village and shaping a new identity for the community through Public Art.

Bloom is a unique public art installation – a towering sculpture of asymmetrically arranged streetlights assembled to represent the flowers that blossom on the island. It will gently light island pathways and put the spotlight on SPI’s unique urban wilderness. Art in the park has never been quite so illuminating.

de Broin, who was the Placemakers evening’s surprise guest artist, enthralled the audience of art lovers, culture cravers and urban aficionados. He was joined on stage by three eminent artists known for creating prominent work in East Village: Ron Moppett, whose sprawling mosaic tile installation THESAMEWAYBETTER/READER brings Riverfront Lane to brilliant life; Daniel J, Kirk, whose collaborative art graces RiverWalk’s bridge abutments as part of CMLC’s curated art program; and Patrick Marold, whose ever-evolving sound installation will bring beautiful new life to flood-damaged pianos as part of the new National Music Centre’s skybridge.

Bloom is the third permanent piece in CMLC’s "Art in the Public Realm" program and will be nothing short of monumental – a 23-metre tall sculpture that’s playful, functional and very hard to miss. Visible from any point on the island, Bloom will act as a natural beacon and meeting point. Its soft ambient lighting will serve as a central focus of SPI’s pathway system and help orient park users. It’s a striking symbol of the interaction between the island’s natural elements and its urban context.

Bloom was chosen from a shortlist of proposals from six Canadian artists in a process that began in 2013. Through input from local consultants Art to Public – and an evaluation committee that included CMLC managers, Calgary Parks, the City of Calgary Public Art Committee and representatives from the SPI revitalization design team – Bloom was selected as the work that best realized the scale, concept and sense of place of St. Patrick’s Island.

de Broin and his fellow artists brought more than 200 attendees to the first Placemakers evening. The new EV Speaker Series, hosted by CMLC, will offer a range of conversations, lectures and events that celebrate the power of placemaking in creating thriving urban neighbourhoods like East Village. Conceived to commemorate the Great Move-In of 2015 – which will see new East Village residents setting up residence in the first new residential construction in the neighbourhood in a decade – the Placemaker Series looks at the strategies, innovations and people that are planing, building and bringing East Village to life. 

Sound like your idea of a great evening? Watch for the next event in the Placemakers speakers series – an examination of the role of public spaces in community development – to take place this fall. With the discussion revolving around the architects, planners and other placemakers behind the revitalization of St. Patrick’s Island and EV’s public spaces, it’s an evening you won’t want to miss.  

Stay tuned to EV-News for more information.