The giant polished steel artwork called ‘Wishing Well” was part of Calgary Alberta’s programme of commissioning public art works.
Public art commissioned or mandated by politicians in connection with new developments,has very often been controversial, but rarely is it deemed a safety hazard.
As in Calgary’s case, not all of these works have been well received, but one was deemed a bit too hot, too dangerous.
Costing over half a million dollars ($559,000) it was installed in 2012 in front of the Genesis Centre of Community Wellness in northeast Calgary.
However, soon after it was installed, the mirror-like surface of the art reflected the sun unto a visitors jacket with such intensity it caused burns through the material. Soon afterward the piece was fenced off and in 2014 it was removed and placed in storage in a warehouse where it has remained out of sight, and out of the sun, ever since.
- RCI: Nov 29/19: Public art: Beauty or ? (Vancouver)
- RCI: Apr 23/14: Is it art or ? (Saskatoon)
- RCI: Oct 9/13: Calgary debates whether it’s art or eyesore
Estimates to ‘correct’ the problem set the cost at around an additional $180.000, but that upset many city councilors at least one of whom called it “crazy”. Some felt the money should be spent on other city needs, and the the piece could simply be moved to a shady or indoor location.
Now years later, the city is talking to a private company about proposed installation saying tests have been run at the site and it appears to be safe. Apparently the company will finance costs of the placement which could come in 2021.
- CBC: S.Rieger: Oct 12/20: Calgary sculpture that burned hole in viewer’s jacket may be back on display next year
- CBC: Oct 9/14: Wishing Well removed from Calgary recreation centre for safety reasons
- Daily Hive: Dec 18/17: 9 best and worst public art in Calgary
- Calgary Herald: B.Passifiume: Nov 13/17: Report shows fixing hazardous Calgary art display would cost $180,000