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Coquitlam scores $435K for public art in commercial districts

Up to eight art installations will be placed around Coquitlam as part of a $50-million boost for B.C. tourism and arts projects.
One of two salmon sculptures painted for the City of Coquitlam's 125th year in 2016. The fish decorated by Wilfrido Limvalencia.

Coquitlam scored $435,000 today (April 25) to make its commercial districts more colourful with art.

Premier David Eby announced the grant for up to eight art installations at sites around Coquitlam as part of a $50-million boost for tourism and arts projects around B.C., including upgrades to the Science World dome.

Coquitlam's public art installations — like murals or sculptures — would be in place for at least five years; there would also be an art trail map developed by the city to encourage residents and visitors to view the works.

Eric Kalnins, Coquitlam's tourism and visitor economy manager, told the Tri-City News that a report will come before city council before the summer break to gain feedback about the art proposals, which will go up by 2025.

And he acknowledged the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Cultural and Sport for the cash to beautify neighbourhoods.

"We are super excited about the opportunities that this Destination Development funding will create for economic development in the City of Coquitlam," said Kalins.

"The destination development funding will be used to create a program that will connect our local business community with public placemaking initiatives (public art) while in the process supporting our local creative and cultural industries."

Kalnins expects the city will call for local artists to participate, as well as business and cultural groups and other stakeholders.

The process may also include external arts groups, such as the Vancouver Mural Festival, to organize the installations in high-traffic business zones like North Road and Austin Avenue or in the City Centre.

"As this placemaking comes to life, creative marketing and promotional campaigns will be developed to enhance the program and showcase diverse local artists, encourage visitation, increase length of stay and local spend, promote local vibrancy and quality of life, and support accessibility, inclusion, and reconciliation when it comes to authentic shared cultural experiences," Kalnins wrote.

"This funding is a starting point and can be a potential catalyst for what could be a longer-term initiative with partnerships to incubate and grow our creative industries and cultural vibrancy in Coquitlam well beyond this grant opportunity. This will be helpful in supporting the city’s ongoing efforts to establish Coquitlam as a regional economic and cultural hub."