According to the English language Wiktionary, a pillar of the community is a prominent member or supporter of a local community. Out walking yesterday, I came across 4 pillars of the community – four free-standing pillars showcasing artwork created about 10 years ago by students attending the neighbourhood elementary school. The work was created under the guidance of Calgary artist Carole Bondaroff, with support from adults from the Signal Hill community. All of these people – artist, students and parents – came together to support our community by creating an enduring piece of public art that adds a touch of year-round colour to one of our local walking paths.
Although the children’s artwork covers all seasons of the year, the snow on the ground and the cooler temperatures and cloudy skies we’ve been experiencing in Calgary for the past couple of weeks prompted me to pay close attention to some of the winter scenes so carefully outlined, dried and glazed by the grades K through 3 students…
After spending about 10 minutes really looking at this community art installation, I got to thinking about the fact that our oldest son attended the neighbourhood school back then. I told him I couldn’t find his tile and asked him to return to the sculpture with me to search for it. He says he was away sick that day, so didn’t create a tile. I’m not sure that will stop me from taking another close look next time I walk that way!
When’s the last time you stopped to take a really close look at a piece of public art as you passed by? I admit it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the phrase “pillar of the community”, but I think community art can provoke thought, involvement, reaction and pure enjoyment. What more can you ask for from a pillar of the community?