City art – Eagles, bears, and tadpoles?

I’ve had in recent days three things sloshing around in my brain, all of which I only realized today are all thematically connected, as they are all, for lack of a better term, city art. Which is to say it’s not urban art (graffiti, posters, building murals), or art about the city, but art that exists only because the city allows it to exist as part of the city.

The first is an old throwback, which is one part world’s-lamest-scavenger-hunt (as there is only one thing to find and you win nothing… plus, I tell you where to look, so, not much actual hunting) and one part segue. Remember those Spirit Bears that dotted the city a couple of years back? Well, I think there’s one on the roof of the optometrist shop, South-East corner of Broadway and Quebec. It’s either that, or I’m hallucinating. Either could be fun.

[photo – City of Vancouver]
And there’s the segue, as this year the City of Vancouver and the BC Lion’s Society has unveiled the third animal in their Spirit of Art series (after the aforementioned bears and the Orcas from 2004) -the Eagle. I only became aware of this because you can’t miss the pastel blue bird sitting outside City Hall as you pass it. And as much as I’m in favour of helping the children (more on that soon), I’m not a big fan of the Eagles – the choice to put them upright on a wingtip seems awkward, and in fact it took me a second to register that it was a bird. But, there are still a lot of birds to go (the city will be rolling them out over 2009 and right up to the start of the Olympics) and part artists have made some amazing works – Darth Vader bear? Bookshelf Orca?

Finally, how did it miss that we have art manholes? Walking down Main Street the other night I literally tripped over the tadpole (frogs? fradpoles? togs?) design as I was crossing at King Edward (East side of Main, South side of King Ed), and a little research revealed there were two designs – anybody know where I can see the bubbles design?
[photo – me]

As cool as they are (well, the fradpoles at least), I like the traditional Chinese decorations in one. The salmon and raindrops on water is nice, and the woodgrain idea was inspired – totally should have gone with that one?

What else is out there? I think we should start sharing more of the artistic bits and bobs we see around town – send us your flickr links!

2 Comments so far

  1. erik on November 3rd, 2008 @ 9:36 am

    The "footprints" sidewalk mosaics in the DTES come to mind, as well as the mosaics in other parts of downtown.

  2. castewar on November 3rd, 2008 @ 11:13 am

    I remembered the mosaics after I posted – the Clark Gable one is great. They’re all great really, but the Clark Gable one stands out to me.

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