By Kevin Werner, News Staff
The city of Hamilton will be putting the finishing touches on Ancaster’s year-old walkway that has proved popular with residents as it connects Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum to the area’s rail trails.
Culture staff has asked artists to submit proposals for a public art work, and the winning artists’ piece will be installed along the walkway from Wilson Street to the wooded area at the south end of the Fieldcote Memorial Park.
“It’s a unique site,” said Ken Coit, the city’s art in public places co-ordinator. “It’s not your typical location. It will be up to the artists to see what they can do.”
Other areas that are sure to get artists’ imaginations fired up include installing a possible art piece adjacent to the gateway feature at the Wilson Street entrance, somehow making use of the gravel pathway and incorporating the fence in the work. There are also some open spaces in the trees that an artist could use for their piece.
“The successful work will create a visual, physical or conceptual connection from the street to the forest, invite use of the walkway and be respectful of the heritage character of the Wilson Street landscape,” states the city’s guidelines.
There are already two known public art pieces within the downtown Ancaster area. One of the pieces is located in front of the Ancaster Library called Girl on a Rock, installed in 1962; the other, called Girl in a Garden is located at the Fieldcote Museum and Park. Coit said about 18 artists attended an information meeting for the walkway location in July 2013, and so far he has received about five additional inquiries about the project.
The successful artist will receive $36,000. The art work will be selected by a citizen jury in the fall of 2014, with installation expected in the spring of 2015.
Coit said the public art piece for the walkway wasn’t originally identified as a priority site under the city’s public art master plan when it was completed in 2008. Among the 14 priority locations for the city, Fieldcote and Ancaster Town Square were identified as ready for an art piece. Coit said Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson urged city staff to consider the walkway as a priority location.
Last June the $75,000 walkway was opened near Halson Street. It has an archway to identify where the path begins and connects the rail trail located near St. John’s Anglican Church, crosses Wilson Street and provides the necessary links to Fieldcote’s seven acres of trails. Bob Wilkins, chair of the Ancaster Village Business Improvement Area and Bill Walker, his business partner, deeded the easement property necessary for the city to construct the pathway. The walkway is part of the Ancaster Heritage BIA’s strategic plan to create a walkable community for residents within the downtown area.