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Edmonton, city of champions

In a ceremony at City Hall, two innovative public art pieces were among the projects recently awarded Edmonton Urban Design Awards. A panel of  prestigious jurors from around the country selected the winners, including some impressive projects like the Capital City Downtown Plan and the Edmonton Federal Building and Centennial Plaza Redevelopment.
“These award winning entries are a significant part of our city’s improving urban landscape,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel at the gala. “We want to celebrate with those who are contributing to the transformation of our urban form.” He went on to describe how the look of our city has improved, and thanked the entrants for their vision and creativity.
The winner in the category of Urban fragments was a mural titled “Transition” painted by Josh Holinaty and Luke Ramsey with a support team from the John Howard Society mentored by the artists. It portrays a calm and positive being transforming a distressed figure into a beautiful and bountiful Eden, symbolizing the reversal of environmental destruction and mass consumerism.
The other public artwork that won an award for excellence in the category of community based projects was called “Colour alley.” (Full disclosure: I helped to make this one happen.) Artists Rob Harpin, Karen Campos and Teng Chong along with about two dozen volunteers transformed a drab alleyway on 104 Street north of Jasper Avenue into a bright, colourful destination with some paint and a lot of labour. The Reclaiming Lost Spaces committee, together with the Edmonton Arts Council, had the intention to make a more community friendly space by drawing attention to spaces in our urban environment that show potential for beautification and community building by seeking out ways to incorporate artistic expression in the everyday.
The winners of the Edmonton awards will now go on to compete in the 2012 National Urban Design Awards. V

Chelsea Boos is a multidisciplinary visual artist and flâneur. Back words is a discussion of her dérives  and a photographic diary of the local visual culture.

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