Public art is defined as any work of art that is created by an artist specifically to be located in a public space, usually outside and accessible to all. The City of Abbotsford’s public art policy encompasses a variety of opportunities including public and private-sector artist commissions, community art initiatives, and donations of art work from residents. View the Public Art Policy.
The City has partnered with the University of the Fraser Valley annually, since 2010, to enhance artist capacity by creating a public art commission project specifically geared towards students. View a video of Public Art Collaboration with University of the Fraser Valley.
Public Art helps to create a unique sense of place; provides cross-cultural dialogue and exchange of ideas; and increases public awareness, understanding and enjoyment of the arts in everyday life. It can also help us reflect and celebrate ideas, events, cultures, heritage and history while creating spaces that are safe, comfortable and inclusive. The City of Abbotsford’s Public Art Inventory includes 29 publicly accessible pieces, ranging from murals at both the Matsqui and Abbotsford Recreation Centres, The Golden Tree at the International Friendship Garden, to the installations located at Clearbrook and McCallum roundabouts.
From a practical perspective, public art creates safety, by putting eyes, and people onto the streets where it is located. It also attracts tourists, skilled workers, and businesses that desire to visit and work in an environment that places a high value on aesthetics and place making. The construction of public art supports economic growth by employing engineers, electricians, painters, metal fabricators, glassworks, flagging companies, concrete businesses and installers.
Abbotsford was the first municipality in BC to join the Canada 150 Mural Mosaic project; a national mural including over 80,000 paintings and 150 individual murals from all provinces and territories. All the artwork joined together forms one massive virtual mural mosaic and if ever connected, the murals would be over 365 metres wide (4 football fields) x 2.5 metres high (8 feet).
Abbotsford residents painted approximately 400 of the mosaic tiles at various events from May to July 2016, to represent Abbotsford and it’s cultural heritage. The mural is now displayed in the Atrium of the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium to preserve Abbotsford’s legacy and commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday.
To view the mosaic and individual painted tiles, click here.