Public Art
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Public Art

There's possibly no better way to take in some Vancouver culture and get to know the city in the process than by scouting out its public art.  Ranging from surprising to poetic to, occasionally, baffling, around 350 outdoor art works can be found in parks, transit shelters and even on random street corners. Follow these tips, and keep your eyes peeled.

First, the can't-miss pieces:  The vibrant First Nations totem poles at Brockton Point in Stanley Park were carved as early as the 1880s. Interpretive panels in the park explain each totem's significance and history.  Another icon, the inukshuk at English Bay, became British Columbia's emblem during the 2010 Winter Olympics. An ancient Inuit symbol of friendship, this giant stone cairn, which resembles a person with outstretched arms, is simple yet striking.

Now, let's dig a little deeper.  Among the most talked about contemporary pieces is Myfanway McLeod's The Birds in the brand-new Olympic Village neighbourhood.  This pair of 18-foot sparrows symbolises the threat even beautiful animals have on biodiversity.  Meanwhile, just outside the Vancouver Library is the enigmatic The Words Don't Fit the Picture, a piece of billboard art by Vancouver's own Ron Terada.  

Finally, there's the granddaddy of all public art events, the Vancouver Biennale.  Every two years, a massive public exhibition is installed at locations across the city, turning Vancouver quite literally into an open-air museum.  This year's Biennale has brought to Vancouver perhaps its most popular piece of public art ever:  A-maze-ing Laughter by Chinese artist Yue Minjun.  Consisting of more than a dozen, 10-foot tall bronze sculptures of the artist himself - all in a different pose of hysterical laughter - the piece is both eerie, hilarious and an irresistible photo-op.
 
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Canstruction Vancouver

  • May 11 - May 16
  • The Pendulum Gallery, the Rotunda at Pacific Center
  • 791 Georgia St West
    Vancouver, BC V6C 2T4
  • Admission: Free
  • Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver
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North Vancouver Community Arts Council presents The Reclaimers

  • April 11 - May 10
  • CityScape Community Art Space
  • 335 Lonsdale Ave
    North Vancouver, BC V7M 2G3
  • Admission: Free
  • Contact: Jo Dunlop
  • Phone: 604-988-6844
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VANCOUVER BIENNALE ARTIST WORKSHOP: TĂșlio Pinto at Artists for Kids

  • April 24 - April 24
  • Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art
  • 2121 Lonsdale Avenue
    North Vancouver, BC
  • Admission: FREE!
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