Markham Public Art presents Becoming Public Art: Art and Urban Planning


Markham Public Art presents Becoming Public Art: Art and Urban Planning

What is the role of culture and art in the development of future cities? What can and should it be? How to embed public art within the process of urban planning? Can it become an integral part of the process?

Please join us on Tuesday, November 3, from 1:30 PM Р3 PM for Art and Urban Planning, a featured presentation of Hamburg’s experimental cultural program, Imagine the City, followed by a group discussion with Toronto and Markham based urban designers. Art and Urban Planning is the fourth session of Becoming Public Art, a nine-week virtual summit presented by Markham Public Art in partnership with ART+PUBLIC UnLtd.

Ellen Blumenstein, Artistic Director, Imagine the City, Hamburg
Brenda Webster Tweel, Stantec’s Urban Places
Parvathi Nampoothiri, Manager, Urban Design, City of Markham
Richard Fournier, Manager, Parks & Open Space Development, City of Markham

The event is free, online, and open to the public. Registration is required, click here.

Imagine the City is a young and experimental cultural program that develops exemplary new formats at the intersection between art and city planning in the HafenCity of Hamburg. In her presentation, founding director Ellen Blumenstein will introduce one upcoming and two completed projects and discuss how fictitious arrangements are capable of bringing groups of users into contact with one another. Blumenstein sheds light on the workings of the program and explains her vision for art and culture’s role in future cities.

As HafenCity’s first curator, starting in August 2017, Ellen Blumenstein has been drawing up long-term strategies to make cultural events accessible to a broad public. She was chief curator at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin from 2012-2016, producing solo exhibitions by Kader Attia (2013), Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin (2014), and Renzo Martens (2015), among others, and the thematic exhibitions Under Weapons. Fire & Forget (with Daniel Tyradellis, 2015), and Secret Surface. Where Meaning Materializes (with Catherine Wood, 2016).

Brenda Webster Tweel is a champion for urban renewal with international experience and a focus on process and interdisciplinarity. She integrates technical foundations in landscape architecture, architecture and urban design to build resilient solutions. With over 20 years of experience leading urban designs and master plans, she has an exceptionally strong record with large, complex, multi-stakeholder projects. Webster Tweel gains understanding of community needs through iterative observations, tests the ideas through collaboration, and delivers solutions that are embedded in community governance.

Parvathi Nampoothiri is a planner, urban designer and strategic thinker, and has worked in Canada, UAE, USA and India. With her multi-disciplinary background and leadership skills, Parvathi develops creative, context-sensitive approaches to design while balancing stakeholder needs. She has led interdisciplinary teams that span geographies to deliver master plans, urban revitalization plans and design guidelines. Parvathi strongly believes in creating places and communities that are functional, sustainable and attractive through collaboration, innovation and design excellence.

Richard Fournier is the Manager of Parks & Open Space Development at the City of Markham. He works closely with public and private stakeholders to provide communities with sustainable park systems that facilitate healthy, happy, diverse and equitable outdoor opportunities. Richard is a certified landscape architect with the OALA and CSLA. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMI), and has completed his master’s certificate in Municipal Leadership from the Schulich School of Business.

IMAGE: Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus, Richard Wilhelmer, Public Face, 2018. Photo: Carsten Dammann. Courtesy of Imagine the City.


Becoming Public Art: Working Models and Case Studies for Art in Public is a nine-week virtual summit presented by the City of Markham in partnership with ART+PUBLIC UnLtd. In a series of virtual sessions co-curated by Rebecca Carbin, Principal, ART+PUBLIC UnLtd, and Yan Wu, Public Art Curator, City of Markham, professionals in the field will present the broad range of perspectives that shape public art making today.

For summit details and to subscribe for updates, please visit the summit website.

General inquiries:
Media inquiries: Yan Wu, Markham Public Art Curator


Markham’s Public Art Program was first initiated in 2003 and formalized in 2012. Since 2013, five permanent artworks have been commissioned through the program, with two more currently in progress. In addition, the program has facilitated a series of community art initiatives in collaboration with the City’s Public Realm section. In the fall of 2019, Markham City Council approved its Public Art Master Plan 2020-2024, and a related Implementation Plan in winter 2020. The objectives of the program are to inspire people to live, work, visit and invest in Markham; to celebrate the city’s diverse cultures and heritage from multiple points of view; and to connect residents to Markham’s built and natural environment.

Founded in 2018 by Rebecca Carbin, ART+PUBLIC UnLtd brings people to contemporary art in their everyday lives. ART+PUBLIC UnLtd is a boutique public art consultancy based in Toronto with clients across Canada. Carbin and her team use a unique set of skills across curation, commissioning, project management and public engagement to bring public art programs to life.