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Utilities and Environmental Protection Department, Calgary - Report 1


This is the first time that Public Art Online has featured a case study of a ‘live’ project currently in progress.  The case study will comprise three reports over the next twelve months following two projects being realised under the innovative Public Art Plan adopted by The City of Calgary’s Utilities and Environmental Protection Department (UEP). 

The Visual Language Project is the cornerstone of UEP Public Art Plan.  Its purpose is to create a ‘cohesive and elegant visual language for identifying, mapping and codifying the watershed systems’, and a ‘conceptual framework for UEP infrastructure, education and all public art projects to follow’.  The Laycock Park/Nose Creek Restoration project is a capital project in an established park which will provide wetland compensation and stream restoration with sustainable habitat. 

Glasgow-based Sans façon – artist Tristan Surtees and architect Charles Blanc – have been appointed as lead artists for both projects.  They were appointed to the Laycock Park project in March 2007 to work within a team with UEP staff, engineers, ecologists, park staff, the local community and the City of Calgary Public Art Program.  Sans façon also led the successful team of artists, architects, a social geographer, an engineer and a graphic designer subsequently appointed to the Visual Language project in October 2007. 

At the time of writing (June 2009), the Visual Language Project is in conceptual design phase and the recommendations of the team will go back to the jury for review in autumn 2009.  The Laycock Park/Nose Creek is in the design development stage and on current schedules, construction work on site will start in 2010.