Call for Artists: Arts Alive Public Art Program 2023

Salish Sea by Chris Paul. Photograph by Kevin Light.

Call for Artists
Arts Alive Public Art Program

Arts Alive is Oak Bay Parks, Recreation & Culture’s annual temporary public art program. This exhibition of sculpture is displayed for 10 months at outdoor sites in our municipality. Started in 2016, this Public Arts Program is an expression of our municipality’s commitment to a flourishing arts environment for the economic, social and personal benefit of our entire community. It is also an important attraction for visitors and tourists to Vancouver Island.

The municipality has installed outdoor sculptures in a variety of locations around Oak Bay. The permanent collection of Arts Alive sculptures frames views, animates parks, streetscapes, and viewpoints. The sculptures have been greatly appreciated for their artistic merit and have encouraged viewers to pause and reflect about living in and visiting this special seaside community. They include realistic and abstract pieces, both kinetic and static. They are made of a variety of materials including metal, stone, mixed media and mosaic and express each sculptor’s personal style and interpretation of the yearly theme.

The annual exhibition of sculpture is chosen by a jury from works submitted by artists from the region. Selected sculptures are on temporary loan by each sculptor, sponsored by local business and community groups.

To learn more please visit Arts Alive.

About Oak Bay

The municipality of Oak Bay is part of Greater Victoria and is located on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It lies in the traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən people, known today as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

Surrounded by beaches and parkland, its scenery includes splendid views across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Salish Sea. This geologically fascinating area is also home to the unique and rare Garry Oak meadow ecosystem.

Our 18,000 residents have a deep attachment to our natural and built environment. The municipality is legendary for its fine domestic architecture, its picturesque, luxuriant gardens and its parks. Its compact and charming village heart is the home of several art galleries enjoyed by local artists and art enthusiasts.

Lunar Transitions by Fred Dobbs. Photograph by Kevin Light.

Theme for 2023

What is home?

A physical space or place? A nation or region? A connection to land or landscape? A sanctuary? A memory? Recollections of layers of history told through stories or legends? Cultural roots that extend for many generations? A safe space that satisfies the longing for connection? A palatial, modest, temporary or mobile residence? A place that is rented, borrowed or owned? A safe space that satisfies the longing for belonging? A place to thrive, to forgive, to love, to celebrate, to play, to share and to dream of the future? A place that is no longer there? A place that is hidden or make-shift?

How can an idea of home be communicated through the medium of sculpture?

Invitation to Artists

This is an excellent opportunity for both mid-career and emerging artists to showcase their work.

Artists are invited to reflect on and interpret the yearly theme.

Artist’s work will have exposure to thousands of residents and visitors in this high-profile program. The municipality, local media and Oak Bay Tourism will promote this show throughout the year. Related arts events like art walks, paint-ins, concerts, and celebrations will be organized, generating excitement and building community.

  • Artists based in Western Canada are invited to apply for our 2023-2024 outdoor public art program (due to shipping/importing logistics of artwork, we cannot accept sculptures shipped from outside of the region at this time).
  • Work will be displayed for approximately 1 year.
  • Proposals will be reviewed by an expert volunteer jury.
  • Depending on community sponsorships, up to 8 works may be selected.
  • Selected works will be installed in highly visible outdoor locations open to the public.
  • This year only sculptural works will be selected for inclusion in the program.

Together at the Grove by Susan Rankin. Photograph by Gregory Varano.

Financial Support

Successful submissions will be provided with an honorarium of $1,600 inclusive of travel and delivery/retrieval.
All artwork is available for public purchase.

  • A commission of 10% of the sale of any sculpture while on exhibition will go to the Arts Alive program to be used for the development of the program.

Permanent Municipal Public Art Collection Consideration

  • The purchase of artwork is at the discretion of the District of Oak Bay Council and is not guaranteed as part of this public exhibition.

The public will be invited to vote on a People’s Choice Award.

  • This piece will be among those considered for purchase by the Municipality for inclusion in Oak Bay’s permanent public art collection, up to a fair market value of $18,000, taxes included, pending annual budget approvals.
  • Artwork valued over $18,000 will be considered for exhibition and public sale only.

Jury Process

  • Submissions will be reviewed by the Arts Alive jury directly following the application due date.
  • Shortlisted entries will be reviewed by Municipal staff to ensure technical feasibility and public safety
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered by the jury.

Jury Criteria

  • Originality and artistic merit.
  • Alignment with the theme.
  • Appropriate for community members of all ages.
  • Overall feasibility, appropriate size, practicality, durability in an outdoor setting.
  • Appropriate for outdoor seaside environment, structural integrity, public safety and level of maintenance required.
  • Quality of previous work (mid-career artists) / quality of the application information, photographs/sketches (emerging artists)

Arts Alive 2023-2024 Key Dates

  • January 23, 2023 ~ Application deadline – (midnight PDT)
  • February 24, 2023 ~ Successful applicants will be notified.
  • May 12, 2023 ~ New artwork delivered to Oak Bay Public Works Yard.
  • June 9, 2023 ~ Installation of 2023 Arts Alive artwork complete.
  • July 6, 2023 ~ Arts Alive opening celebration and tour
  • April/May 2024 ~ De-Installation of 2023-2024 Arts Alive artwork complete.

How to Apply

Please visit – Arts Alive – Call for Artists for details on submitting.

Applications are due: January 23, 2023

Please direct accessibility and accommodation requests or general questions prior to January 19 to:

Andrea Pass, Acting Arts and Culture Programmer
Oak Bay Arts & Cuture
1975 Bee Street
Victoria, BC
Canada V8R 5E6

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