Request for Proposals: Lethbridge Airport “Destination YQL” Public Art Project

Submission Deadline: April 29, 2024

The City of Lethbridge is inviting artists to submit Request for Proposals for a free-standing public art project. Proposed artworks should engage with the history of aviation in Southern Alberta, creating a site-specific sculptural work that will withstand high intensity winds and significant sun exposure. The art project provides three integrated component opportunities:

  • A signature, sculptural component that acts to welcome visitors to Lethbridge.
  • A custom lighting component to support visibility at all times of the day.
  • Potential landscaping components to provide physical support for the artwork.

Proposed artwork should enhance the entrance to the Lethbridge Airport while complimenting the significant historical architecture on site. The selected artist will be responsible for conceptualizing, designing, fabricating, and installing artwork that will enhance the entrance to the airport while reflecting on the history of aviation in Southern Alberta.

Site Requirements
The site identified for the public art project is approximately 39 x 27 x 41 x 4.5 meters which is triangular in presentation.

YQL Airport
Lethbridge has played a significant role in Western Canadian aviation history. In the early 20th century, several ad-hoc sites were used to accommodate emerging aviation activities in the region.

In 1938, the City relocated airport operations to its present site. Originally named Kenyon Field, the airport consisted of two hard-surfaced runways, connecting taxiways, runway lighting and radio and meteorological services, allowing night and day operations under all weather conditions. Passenger services were originally provided in the Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA) hangar, currently operated by QL Aviation, which also eventually housed the airport’s control tower. Regular operations commenced in October 1938, and passenger services started in April of the following year. The airport officially opened on June 7, 1939. Later that year, the Lethbridge Airport was used for military purposes to support the Royal Canadian Armed Forces’ war efforts.

In 1940, a military flying training school was established by the Department of National Defense (DND). The airport was then leased to the Government of Canada for the duration of the War and was operated as a dual civil and military aerodrome for the duration of this period. The Department of Transportation (DOT) assumed full ownership of the facility in 1968 and replaced the Air Terminal Building with the current facility in 1979.

During the same period, the Lethbridge Airport also played an important role in the development of Canada’s regional air carrier industry. Serving as a home base to Time Air, a small regional carrier set up by Stubb Ross, a local pilot and businessman, the airport eventually became Southern Alberta’s regional air service hub.

As a result of industry deregulation and consolidation in the late 1980s, the airline was sold to Pacific Western Airlines and transformed into Canadian Regional Airlines. Most of Time Air’s operations were gradually shifted to Calgary in the early 1990s, leaving Lethbridge as a spoke to the Calgary hub. With declining aircraft activity, the airport’s control tower was decommissioned in 1994 and subsequently demolished.

The management structure of the airport changed significantly in the 1990s with the adoption of the National Airports Policy (NAP) by the Government of Canada. Per the provisions of this policy, the Lethbridge Airport was acquired by the County of Lethbridge on January 1, 1997, and was owned and operated by the County until July 1, 2018, when ownership was transferred to the City of Lethbridge.

Since the City acquired the airport in 2018, numerous upgrades have taken place including extensive terminal and airfield renovations. The airport’s modernization allows it to support the movement of over 100,000 passengers per year. In May 2022, the City celebrated a grand reopening of the Lethbridge Airport which included the introduction of two vinyl public art projects: Hali Heavy Sheild’s window installation “This is Home” and Kelaine Devine’s “Spread Your Wings.” Both pieces reflect on the community and nature surrounding the Lethbridge area, exploring Blackfoot culture and natural wildlife.

Budget
The all-inclusive budget for the design, fabrication and installation of the Lethbridge Airport “Destination YQL” Public Art Project is $230,000 plus GST. This fee will be inclusive of all project costs.

Eligibility
The competition is open to qualified professional visual artists as defined by the Canada Council for the Arts. This professional context excludes the school environment, and so a student attending college or in an undergraduate degree program at a university may not enter this competition.

Proposal Submission
Interested artists are invited to view complete RFP details, submit questions and submit proposals on the City of Lethbridge Bid Opportunities Website.

Submission Deadline: April 29, 2024


City of Lethbridge
910 4 Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 0P6
publicartlethbridge.ca
publicart@artslethbridge.org
403.320.0555

Image descriptions:
1. Aerial view of Lethbridge’s airport with the site for public art delineated in orange.
2. View of the Lethbridge airport Main Terminal with silver metallic façade.
3. Entrance to the tarmac from the Main Terminal. The work of Hali Heavy Shield can be seen in the windows extending across the building.