Request for Proposals: Public Artwork for Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Community Centre, Lethbridge Alberta


Project Intent
The City of Lethbridge is inviting professional Canadian artists to submit proposals for a permanent public artwork to be situated in the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens Community Centre. The Community Centre is a purpose-built, year-round facility, which will enhance the mission of the organization: To provide an opportunity to experience the serenity and peace of our natural environment as expressed through Japanese garden architecture and culture. This new facility is scheduled to open in spring 2021.

The selected artist will receive a commission to conceptualize, design, fabricate and install a permanent artwork that reflects the uniqueness and philosophies of the site as an authentic Japanese Garden developed in a Canadian style. The artwork will be permanently displayed in the overhead area of the Community Centre Café, which will be visible from within the building as well as from the exterior. The successful artwork will respond to the physical characteristics of the space and should reflect Japanese gardening aesthetics and principles. The selected artist will be required to work with members of the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Society, the facility design team, facility operators, public art staff, and other stakeholders during the execution of this project.

Established during Canada’s Centennial in 1967, Nikka Yuko was built to recognize contributions made by citizens of Japanese ancestry to the multi-cultural community of Lethbridge, Alberta, and as a symbol of international friendship. Its name was created from the Japanese words Ni (from Nihon meaning Japan), ka from Kanada or Canada, and Yuko, which translates as “friendship” to mean “Japan-Canada friendship”.

Nikka Yuko expresses the merging of Japanese and Canadian culture in a garden rich in symbolism. From the beginning, it was agreed that the garden must be authentic and of the highest quality. It captures the signature of the southern Alberta landscape while simultaneously integrating traditional Japanese philosophy and symbols. Each element of the garden has been carefully chosen and maintained to bind the entire garden together in perfect harmony. Now mature, many visitors enjoy the peace Nikka Yuko offers. The Garden also serves as a gathering place to celebrate Japanese and Canadian art and culture.

Total budget for the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens public art piece is $85,000 plus GST. This fee will be inclusive of all project costs.

The competition is open to qualified Canadian 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 at:

This opportunity closes on: July 13, 2020

Tanya Johnson, Procurement Representative, City of Lethbridge
403.320.3904 |