Calgarians have had some mixed reactions to this new public art piece

Dec 7 2018, 5:45 pm

One of Calgary’s newest pieces of public art has been under fire from a vocal part of the community.

Going under the working name “Ascend” until an official name is chosen (with the help of Calgarians), the mirrored sculptures sitting atop a hill near the Shane Homes YMCA in Rocky Ridge are the creation of artist team Haddad | Drugan, aka Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan.

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Built out of stainless steel tubes, the 50-foot-tall sculptures were inspired by elk, bison, nests, horns, prairie vegetation, and mythical creatures, according to an Instagram post from Haddad | Drugan.

Some Calgarians have voiced their disdain for the new artwork, with many arguing that the $911,000 price tag was too large a price to pay for the sculptures.

Others see the artwork as a positive addition to the skyline around the new Rocky Ridge YMCA, and have pointed out that the large amount of money put into the artwork is the result of the city’s Public Art Policy, which ensures that a certain percentage of capital budget projects will go towards public art in the area.

Due to the Shane Homes YMCA coming in at roughly $192 million, the funding for public art came in at just under $1.5 million. Nearly one-third of that went towards the nearby Flock art installation, and the remained was used on the twinned sculptures.

It should also be noted that public art in Calgary isn’t chosen by the City Council, but instead by a public art committee made up of art consultants, art historians, and citizens at large who are chosen by council for limited terms — meaning that any Calgarian has a chance at joining the committee to have their voices heard on an administrative level.

Here’s what people have been saying about Ascend:

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