We're looking for Manitoba artists to enter the first of two new pulbic art commissions for Railside at The Forks.
“We are committed to creating welcoming public spaces at The Forks, open and accessible to everyone. We know public art is a key component of great placemaking and are thrilled to be able to offer the first of two commissions for the first phase of Railside at The Forks to Manitoba artists,” says Sara Stasiuk, Chief Executive Officer, The Forks North Portage Partnership.
Great public spaces are at the forefront of all planning within Railside at The Forks.
“We heard loud and clear in our public consultations and annual surveys that people want “more of The Forks” within Railside,” says Stasiuk. “As we wrap up our underground work in preparation for construction, it’s the perfect time to reinforce that commitment and announce how art will be the lead component of this development.”
The call today represents the first of two commissions for the new mixed-use development and offers artists the ability to dream big for the public spaces that are the cornerstone of the Railside development.
“We are launching this call now in order to bring artists into the picture early so they can be part of the team designing those spaces,” says Clare MacKay, Chief Communities Officer, The Forks North Portage. “They will be working with a team of architects and developers to choose what and how they want to bring art to the public space. That’s unusual and we are excited to see what comes from these commissions.”
The first RFQ is for an established Manitoba artist and the second, to be released in winter 2024, is for an emerging Manitoba artist. The two-part call is intentional to allow the emerging artist to be mentored by the established artist.
It is important to The Forks that the first call for RFQs be for Manitoba artists.
“Over the last 30 years, The Forks has become known for its collection of public art, now numbering thirty works from around the world with many by Manitoba artists. How amazingly fortunate our visitors have been to see works by local Indigenous artists Val Vint, KC Adams, and Jaimie Isaac standing alongside Ai Wei Wei’s Forever Bicycles," says MacKay. “Beginning this development with Manitoba commissions was an intentional decision to highlight the depth and breadth of our community’s talent. We can’t wait to add to the collection with these commissions.”
An artist selection panel will shortlist artists and select final awards. The panel, composed of independent arts professionals, includes David Moos, President and Founder of David Moos Art Advisory, Noam Gonick, award-winning Director, Writer and Artist, and Allison Yearwood, Executive Director Plug In ICA.
The art is to be completed and installed as the first buildings of the development are opening in early 2025. The commissions are being funded by the previously announced Tax-Increment Financing from The City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba.
Future art commissions will follow, as Railside is a twenty-year development. Any future commissions will be funded through donations to The Forks Foundation.
“The Forks Foundation exists for the express purpose of creating great public space at The Forks and other downtown parks,” says MacKay, who is also Executive Director of The Forks Foundation. “The Forks Foundation will build on the successful installation of these two commissions to attract donors who will be able to see firsthand the value art brings to creating a place for everyone.”
The Forks plans to announce more details about Phase One Railside at The Forks including calls for local expressions of interest in main floor commercial spaces in November 2023.