Banff’s newest piece of public art was officially unveiled Wednesday on the banks of the Bow River.
River Ribbon is a polished steel sculpture by Canadian artist Alexander Caldwell, located southeast of the pedestrian bridge along the Bow River Trail. The work was installed as a Canada 150 celebration piece, and is accessible to anyone walking along the trail heading to or from Bow Falls.
Born in the Yukon, Caldwell is based in Alberta and is well-known in the art community for his contemporary, largescale metal sculptures.
Public art in the Town of Banff is selected by the Banff Community Art Committee, a group of residents and art professionals who advise council on public artwork. This is the first permanent piece of public art selected since 2008, when Mountain Camp by Susan Detwiler was installed at the corner of Elk Street and Banff Avenue.
“The sculpture’s reflective qualities mirror the flow of the Bow River, the ever-changing climatic features of our mountain environment and the viewer’s own image,” said Anne Ewen, past chair of the community art committee. “Its appeal to locals and visitors alike reflect the qualities of Banff as an internationally recognized destination and a progressive, open-minded community.”
Public art pieces are selected based on criteria set by the public art policy, which includes relevance to the town, quality of work and uniqueness. The art committee worked for two years to select a piece that would fit in the town’s landscape and be a memorable tribute to Canada’s 150th anniversary. River Ribbon was funded from the Public Art Reserve.
“Banff has a long history of supporting the arts and we’re very happy to add another piece to the public art collection,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen. “Public art enhances our community and adds vibrancy to our town.”
Banff’s most recent public art has been temporary in nature – a rotating set of images commissioned in 2013 for the back of Town Hall by artists Lynne Huras, Jennifer Tellier and Roselina Hung, as well as a piece on the Bear Street Mall from artist Sheila Kernan. Other public art includes Four Ravens by Eric Robertson installed in 2005 in Banff Avenue Square, and three sculptures by Stewart Steinhauer installed around town in 2000 titled Mistahiya, Sleeping Buffalo, and Thunderbird.