Meet Calgary's newest near-million dollar public art piece

Dec 5 2018, 8:43 pm

It hasn’t been around for long, but the newest addition to Calgary’s public art pieces has already caused quite a stir.

Temporarily titled Ascend, the new sculpture has been erected on a hill by the Shane Homes Rocky Ridge YMCA and features two mirrored monuments, both standing roughly 45 feet high.

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The artwork has been made using stainless steel tubes to create what looks like curved horns atop the hill.


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The artwork was designed and created by artist team Haddad | Drugan, aka Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan.

The same team were the artists behind the public art piece Flock, which is also located near the Shane Homes YMCA.


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Ascend has received some scrutiny from the public, mainly due to its $911,000 price tag. As with most large-scale construction project in the city, a percentage of what is spent on infrastructure must go towards public artwork.

The Shane Homes YMCA’s total public art budget landed at $1.49 million, with Flock using roughly one-third of that sum and Ascend using most of the remainder, according to the City of Calgary’s website.


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Many Calgarians were left with a bad taste in their mouth following the controversy that was caused when nearly half a million dollars was spent on the Travelling Light installation — The Blue Ring — back in 2013.

“Ascend” is only a working title on the new installation, and the City of Calgary is asking the public to send in their ideas for a new title.

Unfortunately, many are taking this as an opportunity to voice their discontent in the use of public funding:

However, there were others who were a little less harsh on the new public artwork:

As with all artwork, the old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” rings true.

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