It was a delight to watch the new batch of sculptures being installed at locations throughout downtown Castlegar on Saturday morning, as it was to hear SculptureWalk Society president Pat Field speak later that evening about the broader implications of this still nascent but rapidly growing initiative.
The sculptures themselves seem more diverse this year, with some classic bronze works along with a variety of, shall we say, more modern pieces.
The enormous, 12,000-lb. ‘Nokhom Maskwa’ installed behind city hall is particularly beautiful, in our view, but it isn’t one of the 25 sculptures in the running for the People’s Choice Award. (Which, we suppose, makes sense, given its $60,000 price tag and the fact that the city will ultimately purchase the sculpture which receives the most votes from the public.)
Like them all or not, the sculptures will certainly generate a lot of interest in downtown Castlegar both locally and beyond our municipal borders. And, according to Field, that’s exactly what they’re designed to do.
Aside from their intrinsic esthetic value, Field explained during a SculptureWalk gala event on Saturday evening that the sculptures also serve a broader economic and social purpose.
“We are really interested in using culture as a tool to do downtown revitalization, to tap into regional economic development and cultural tourism,” he said.
These are challenges that smaller communities across Canada have been wrestling with for years, and while public displays of art alone won’t crack this nut in Castlegar, SculptureWalk has already begun to generate that all-too-elusive “buzz” factor within the city, the region and even beyond.
Castlegar as a whole now needs to take advantage of that buzz to open up new economic, social and cultural opportunities. Through collaboration internally and with our neighbouring communities, this could translate into a wide range of benefits for us all.
– Castlegar News