Why Public Art? Public art integrated with its location and the greater environment can animate public spaces and introduce artistic concepts and ideas to the community. Public art builds community vitality, identity, and pride. The Community Art Committee advises Council on opportunities to acquire and place public art throughout Banff. Take a walk around and see the Town of Banff’s public art collection.
Mistahiya, Sleeping Buffalo & Thunderbird - Stewart Steinhauer (2000)
The bear Mistahiya (left) can be seen outside the Whyte Museum, while Sleeping Buffalo (centre) animates Central Park, and the beautiful Thunderbird (right) sits at the intersection of Lynx and Bear Streets. Steinhauer's works speak to both Banff's cultural history and our relationship with the environment.
Four Ravens - Eric Robertson (2005)
Four ravens watch passers-by from their elevated perches in Banff World Heritage Square, at 212 Banff Avenue. The sculptures of these creative and intelligent birds symbolize the connection between Banff's urban landscape and the natural landscape of the national park in which Banff resides.
Mountain Camp - Susan Detwiler (2008)
Found at the corner of Banff Avenue and Elk Street, Mountain Camp is a delightful collection of bronze sculptures representing an historic campsite.
A pair of moccasins, a cowboy hat, and saddlebag in life-sized scale and exquisite detail lie on large boulder slabs around a bronze campfire and old coffee-pot.
The camp could have looked just like one that pioneers in the Rockies may have used. It's easy to imagine David Thompson, John Palliser, or Bill Peyto sitting here and warming their feet by the fire, sharing stories with their native guides. The work is designed to attract passers-by to sit among the pieces to rest and chat with each other, just as a cozy campsite would.
When I Close My Eyes - Sheila Kernan (2013)
Banff's Community Art Committee went in a different direction in 2013 with the installation of temporary public art. The first piece was mounted on the exterior wall of the Bear Street Mall at 220 Bear Street. Artist Sheila Kernan's depiction of Johnston Canyon, titled When I Close My Eyes, was chosen following a nation-wide call for artwork.
River Ribbon - Alexander Caldwell (2017)
Found on the Bow River trail between the pedestrian bridge and Bow Falls, River Ribbon was installed in 2017 as a Canada 150 celebration piece.
Bears on Bear Street (2022)
The Bear Street redesign created new public amenity areas on Bear Street. In 2021, a local artist named Bryony Toon designed two bear emblems that grace six of the new public seating tables. In 2022, three new tables were added, and the Banff Public Art Committee put a call out to elementary and high school students in Banff, Canmore, and Mȋnȋ Thnȋ (formerly Morley).
Twenty four submissions were received from Banff Elementary School, Banff Community High School and the Morley Community School and a winning submission was chosen by students from each school. The winning submissions have been engraved on the public tables you’ll find throughout Bear Street and form the “Bears on Bear” collection.