Calgary wins lifetime achievement award for wasting money on public art

Feb 16 2018, 4:06 am

The City of Calgary has just received a lifetime achievement award, though it’s not one that you’ll see displayed at City Hall anytime soon.

At the 20th annual Teddy Awards, an event put on by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) to highlight “the best of the worst in government waste from the past year,” Calgary’s notoriously controversial public art program took home a golden trophy.

The event was hosted by CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick, who said that the City of Calgary was more than deserving of the recognition.

“Art can be a wonderful thing, but Calgary’s long track record of expensive artistic flops highlights the perils of mixing art and government,” said Wudrick at the Parliament Hill event.

What Wudrick described as a “gaffe-prone” program had received Municipal Teddy nominations for the past two years running, with examples of “artistic waste” including The Bearing, the Wishing Well, the Bowfort Towers, and, of course, Travelling Light: the giant blue ring that cost the city nearly $500,000.

“We’re pleased the city is currently reviewing the policy,” said Wudrick at the award ceremony, “but it needs to be dumped.”

Other award winners this year included the outdoor skating rink on Parliament Hill and Montreal’s Formula-E race.

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