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Summer in the City

Following two years of travel hiatus, 2022 has been a summer of discoveries and new experiences. I've enjoyed it all and feel ready to press the pause button to reflect on those moments that stopped me in my tracks.

Among the memorable ones, I was enlivened by the presence and role of public art installations in cities.

From Vancouver to London, New York City to Washington D.C, public art serves to embellish a space and educate passers-by, shedding light on a particular topic or highlighting an artist's skills. It is also a means to forge community partnerships among diverse stakeholders to create temporary structures with lasting impressions.

Here are three that left lasting impressions on me.

Vancouver's Fleurs De Villes FEMMES

As if Vancouver needs any artistic intervention to embellish the already stunning place that it is! But that's what two entrepreneurial women have done when they installed 15 mannequins, all wrapped up in exquisite floral displays, and each inspired by a culturally, politically and historically significant woman, in various downtown locations.

Founded by Tina Barkley and Karen Marshall, Fleurs de Villes (Flowers of the Cities) aims to showcase that city's talent through the works of top local florists, nurseries, growers and designers. Fleurs de Villes not only showcases artful floral displays but creates engagement with the audience who visit the sites, and local partners who support them. To date, the concept has had 35 events in 16 cities and 4 countries from Miami to Edinburgh, Toronto to Melbourne.

Walking in downtown Vancouver became an uplifting experience each time I stumbled upon a creative tribute, in the form of an elegant, elaborate floral mannequin representing a historically significant woman. 25 local florists were involved in the displays, supported by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

Co-founder Karen Marshall adds "We can't wait to spread joy and tell stories of these women, en fleurs, to honor each as truly remarkable."

Tribute to Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada from 1999-2005, member of the Order of Canada.

The women honored through the floral displays included Lilith Fair founder Sarah MacLachlan, First Nation wellness influencer Shayla Stonechild, trailblazing artist Emily Carr, and fashion icon Coco Chanel.

For more images: click here

London Heritage Quarter's Platinum Jubilee Corgi Trail

The queen of England is well known for her love of her corgis, who have become a recognized symbol of her 70-year reign. In that time, she has owned an estimated 30 Corgis and Dorgis (Daschund/ Corgi mix).

According to one account, they have traveled with her by boat, helicopter, car, plane and train. They are rarely not by her side.

In honor of this and in celebration of the queen's platinum jubilee, London is hosting a Corgi trail across Victoria, Belgravia, Whitehall and Westminster from May 31st through the end of July. Each of the 19 Corgi installation is painted by a different contemporary artist and named after the queen's dogs. Given the many she has bred over the years, naming her Corgis is no small feat. While some names have been repeated, there is often a theme: Flowers, places she has visited, drinks, trees, car makes, metal and fictional characters from her favorite books. Examples include: Whiskey, Monty, Holly, Susan, Sugar, Sherry and Muick.

The Corgis are on view in public gardens, stations, hotel lobbies and courtyards.

For more images: click here

Washington D.C: Coneflower Canopy

Coneflower Canopy in City Center, D.C, is a climate intervention and sculpture installation by American born Taiwanese artist Phaan Howng and curated by Latela Curatorial.

Hong's practice brings attention to the critical role native plants play in local ecology, as well as the consequences of their removal. To do this, she often creates surreal, future versions of local flora that have learned to camouflage with synthetic colors as a survival tactic.

A fantastical canopy of 230 neon coneflowers, Coneflowers Canopy invokes a future world in which coneflowers have climbed to the canopy layer of their biome and assumed neon colors to warn other species about increased development and plastic use.

The coneflower is a drought-tolerant endangered species native to the mid-Atlantic region also known as echinacea.

The purple coneflower plays a critical role to attract pollinators who come for the color but stay for the nectar. The movement of pollen by songbirds, butterflies and bees enables a habitat that both humans and animals rely on for survival.

Plants that inhabit the canopy layer are known as leaders in their plant communities; they maintain diversity, resilience and functioning.

Modeled after this important position and echinacea's intelligent use of beauty to promote mutual survival, Coneflower Canopy attracts attention by design, seeking to pollinate the minds of the public (statement taken from the event website).

It asks us to consider the responsibility that comes with our privileged place in the local ecosystem and the ramifications of the removal of native plants. Visitors are encouraged

to consider the simple, tangible steps they can take to be plant allies: Plant more coneflowers and other local flora, and protect the local native species that are still in their original homes.

photo credit: Albert Ting


I hope your summer is filled with new discoveries and the stumbling upon public art and installations that draw your attention to the whimsical and the critical. Don't forget to share your experiences in the comment box. Access comments by signing in.



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