Beautifying the daily commute: Street art in Calgary

January 4, 2017

by YP Contributor

Calgarians are lucky in that many of the streets where they live and work are home to beautiful sculptures and murals that help bring life to the city. If you'd like to check out some of these pieces, then here's your guide to street art in Calgary. [Photo credit:]

Beautifying the daily commute: Street art in Calgary

Downtown Calgary

There are three sculptures of note along downtown Calgary's Stephen Avenue. The Trees sculptures between Second and Third Street are both beautiful and utilitarian, designed in order to reduce wind gusts.

Further east down Stephen Avenue you'll come across The Conversation, a bronze sculpture of two businessmen making a deal. A short ways past you'll find Women are Persons, a sculpture of Alberta's "Famous Five" women who helped secure women's status as persons under the law.

Two blocks north stand the iconic Brotherhood of Mankind statues. These 6.5-metre tall aluminum figures joyfully hold hands and appear to be playing. West from here, in the plaza of The Bow building, towers the giant, 12-metre tall sculpture of a head known as Wonderland. You can walk right through this stunning piece.

Northwest Calgary

Public street art in Calgary's northwest quadrant can be found mostly in its newest LRT stations. At the Tuscany LRT station there is a unique sculpture called roger that, which seems to shift and move as your perspective changes.

Crowfoot LRT station, the stop before Tuscany, is also home to a beautiful installation. Collectively known as The Colour of Snow, this piece consists of the images of snowflakes on the station's glass windows and along the railings of the connector bridge.

Southwest Calgary

One of the most interesting fixtures of street art in Calgary's southwest is An Auspicious Find, which can be found near Eau Claire Market along Memorial Drive. This piece, made of shimmering marbles, represents some of the area's flora and fauna.

Not too far away, on Prince's Island Park, is a sculpture known as Cracked Pot Foundations, which was inspired by the artist's experience of shattering a ceramic pot in a kiln. For a less abstract piece you can visit The Oarsman near 30th Avenue along Elbow Drive. This sculpture is a tribute to Olympian John Lecky, who won a silver medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Northeast Calgary

You'll also want to head to some LRT stations for a look at street art in northeast Calgary. At the Martindale LRT station you'll find a piece known as Confluence, which is made up of laser cut steel, terra cotta and LED lighting.

The McKnight/Westwinds LRT Station also has a whimsical sculpture known as Topiary Quilts, which draws upon artistic motifs of the Blackfoot Nation.
You can also visit the Fire Apparatus and Repair Facility on 18th Avenue NE to check out a two-part sculpture consisting of a large sphere and an archway known as bearing.

Of course, among Calgary’s most notorious pieces of public art is Travelling Light – colloquially known as the Big Blue Ring – located on the 96th Avenue connection to Airport Trail. There’s no disputing the piece has inspired a passionate conversation surrounding public art.

Southeast Calgary

You can start your tour of southeast Calgary street art at the Max Bell Arena, where you'll find Frozen Dreams, a scrapbook-like mural detailing the building's history. Then, over at Pearce Estate Park, take in a dynamic sculpture known as Bow Passage Overlook, a piece which attempts to link the city to its surrounding landscapes.

Finally, don't pass up a chance to visit a small parklet on 12th Street and 8th Avenue to view an inspiring piece called Ripple. Ripple represents the four cardinal directions, as well as the stages of life that go along with them.

These and other public pieces of artwork contribute to a sense of cultural identify within Calgary. Though the city’s art scene may still be budding, the existing street art helps to inspire and remind residents there's a lot more to life than work.

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