Public art plays an important role within a city, creating a sense of community and making the places we interact with everyday more welcoming and beautiful. In Calgary, public art is integrated throughout the city’s landscape. One example is the McKnight – Westwinds LRT station, where a standard glass transit shelter was transformed into a meaningful piece of public art.
As high-traffic sites, public transit stops are an ideal place for public art exposure, however this can also negatively affect the longevity of a project due to vandalism or other factors. With this in mind, the city set out to develop a sense of community ownership, while eliminating the potential for vandalism. The final design incorporated historical documents and ancestral photos donated by community members into a series of colorful circles. “The ability for the community to see itself reflected in the art… creates a greater sense of connection and ownership over the artwork, and a little bit of pride in what was created” says Dawn Ford, Calgary’s public art co-ordinator. Goldray developed the glass using a film printed with transparent ink, allowing light to shine through the structure and cast colored shadows onto the floor, creating a spectacular 3D effect.
This project is a favorite of Calgary’s Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, who notes, “every day when I'm at that station, I see people looking at this art, interacting with it, and understanding how it tells the story of the community,". This project was installed in 2007, and to date, no panel has been defaced or required replacement.