Friday, July 13, 2012

Vancouver underfoot includes mosaic art tiles

An art project that I recently heard about through the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association has been brightening the sidewalks of the city for the past few years. Art Under Foot | Mosaic Art Tiles | Downtown Vancouver City Sidewalks was developed by the DVBIA to beautify the city's streets with 18 original mosaic art tiles located in a 90-block area.

The mosaic art tiles each measure nine square feet and feature a common border anchored with images of Vancouver's natural environment: evergreen tree, mountain skyline, billowing wind and ocean waves. A commemorative bronze medallion designed to recognize the sponsors and the DVBIA's 15th anniversary is positioned within the asymmetrical border of each mosaic tiles. Different bronze medallions recognize participation in the 2010 Cultural Olympiad and each mosaic tile has a circular center with a different abstract design reflecting a dynamic theme: people, entertainment, architecture, music, logging and fishing. These themes capture the essence of downtown Vancouver from both a historical and contemporary perspective.

Local mosaic artists Liz Calvin and Bruce Walther designed, produced and installed the tiles. Each mosaic contained between 3,500-4,000 hand cut ceramic pieces and took approximately 160 hours to create. The final grouting of the mosaics took place when they were permanently installed in the sidewalks.

The next time I'm in Vancouver, hopefully before summer's end, I plan to take a self-guided walking tour of Art Under Foot. It's about 1.5-2 hours depending on your pace, and how often you stop along the way. Simply click on the Art Under Foot link above and print out the map, it's as easy as that. And it's open 24 hours a day, rain or shine, admission is free. Detailed descriptions of the 18 mosaic art tiles may be found here, along with more information about the project.

Fireworks Over English Bay 
NE corner Burrard St. and Pacific Ave.
"It's a mark of summer when the huge fireworks show begins in the West End. This mosaic by artist Bruce Walther depicts fireworks bursting over the Burrard St. Bridge (built in 1932). On the right is Eugenia Place, an apartment building with a tree on top designed by architect Richard Henriquez, and the neon sign from the Sylvia Hotel built in 1912. To the left of the bridge is Vanier Park, side of The Bard on the Beach and the Vancouver Children's Festivals, and the Vancouver Museum and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and the beloved "Crab" sculpture by George Norris out front."

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