Call for Expressions of Interest: Oak Allée Sculpture Commissions, Royal Botanical Gardens

The Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection

Oak Allée, Hendrie Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens

The Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection
Oak Allée – Call for Expressions of Interest

The Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection (DLISC) invites professional artists to submit Expressions of Interest to create a permanent public artwork to be installed in the Oak Allée located in the Royal Botanical Gardens’ (RBG) Hendrie Garden.

Four artworks will be commissioned with a $15,000 – $20,000 (CAD) budget per artist. Artists will only be selected to create one of the four artworks. Commission fee is inclusive of all taxes, artist fees, fabrication and transportation to the RGB.

Please note – this is a Request for Expression of Interest. Artwork proposals are not requested at this time.

Application Deadline: Friday, December 2, 2022
Download the Full Call for Expressions of Interest

Project Background

The Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection was founded by philanthropist Dan Lawrie with the Royal Botanical Gardens in 2014. Through Mr. Lawrie’s generous support, the RBG has acquired / commissioned sixteen permanent outdoor sculptures from local and international artists for its Hendrie Park location. The existing collection can be viewed at: DLISC Collection

DLISC is managed by Cobalt Connects, a Hamilton-based non-profit arts service organization that is the connecting element for creative communities. More information about Cobalt can be found at

Bloodroot by Karl Unnasch

Artwork Location

Royal Botanical Gardens is located at the western tip of Lake Ontario. Four distinct formal gardens are contained with 1,100 hectares of nature reserve, nestled into the slopes of Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. The ever-changing seasons, blooms, and natural phenomenon make each visit a new experience. Explore and enjoy the many historical outdoor plant collections, the indoor Mediterranean Garden, and 27 km of nature trails.

Hendrie Park features a variety of interesting landscape features including the newly renovated Medicinal Garden and the revamped SesquiCentennial Rose Garden, which features superior-genetics cold hardy hybrid tea roses, a wide array of perennial companion plants, and the history of roses interpreted walk. In the center of the Rose Garden are a pair a reflecting-pools that provide a beautiful canvass for hardy and tropical water lilies.

The Oak Allée is the primary entry point to Hendrie Park. This 250-foot artery breaks off into multiple pathways that lead visitors to the distinct gardens within Hendrie, the central reflecting pools, rose garden and tea house. As RBG explores its Master Plan, it envisions substantive change to current gardens that will become a compendium known as Showcase Gardens. This concept will carry through the current Oak Allée to become a more open central plaza incorporating water features, gathering and seating space, and places to reflect.

Oak Allée Artwork Commissions

DLISC is seeking 4 artworks that will be mounted on above-grade plinths. Each plinth will be approximately 30” x 30” x 30”, consisting of a concrete block, painted steel shell and mount. This display method will allow the works to be moved throughout the gardens during events, renovation periods, and to accommodate the organically changing nature of the RBG grounds.

Jardin by Lizbet Fernandez

Artwork Goals

The goals for The Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection include:

  • Inspire and provoke the imagination of RBG visitors of all ages through sculpture;
  • Enhance the connection between art and nature;
  • Increase and diversify the visitor base of the RBG and;
  • Support the work of artists in Canada and abroad through meaningful commissions.

Specific goals for the Oak Allée project include:

  • Aligns with the RBG Vision Statement:
    Connecting People, Plants, and Place to Serve our Planet
    “A world in which everyone is awake to the beauty, diversity and necessity of plants, and from that consciousness more actively works together to protect and preserve plant species and habitats and, by extension our planet.”
  • Celebrate local biodiversity (i.e., flora and fauna, water, etc.)
  • Create a sense of place, and explore the interconnectedness of people, plants and wildlife.

Artwork Fabrication Parameters

The artwork must adhere to the following design parameters:

  • Fabricated using materials that are highly resistant to theft, vandalism and weathering
  • Fabricated with materials that will not have a negative environmental impact on the site
  • Fabricated with materials designed to handle the Canadian climate in a permanent outdoor setting
  • Must not pose a risk to public safety
  • Meets all Ontario building code standards
  • Maximum weight of 1000 lbs.
  • Maximum height of 96”
  • Mountable with a base plate


This competition is an international call, open to all professional artists. Artist collectives and/or artist-led teams are also encouraged to apply.

* A professional artist is an individual who has specialized skills and/or training their artistic discipline (not necessarily in academic institutions), has a history of public presentation and is critically recognized as an artist.

Download the Full Call for Expressions of Interest

Jeremy Freiburger
Cobalt Connects