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City of Victoria reveals $250,000 Johnson Street Bridge public art

Victoria's artists in residence Luke Ramsay and Lindsay Delaronde have unveiled their vision for an art piece part of the new Johnson Street Bridge replacement project. The angled and partially submerged surfboards are meant to depict an orca whale.  City of Victoria

City of Victoria reveals $250,000 Johnson Street Bridge public art

The City of Victoria has revealed the working concept of a $250,000 public art piece envisioned as part of the Johnson Street Bridge project.

Described by the City of Victoria's Artist in Residence Luke Ramsey and Indigenous Artist in Residence Lindsay Delaronde as an "abstract sculpture" that "re-imagines the orca form," the installation will be shaped with 11 angled and partially submerged surfboards.

The design will be presented for discussion before municipal officials at council's December 14 Committee of the Whole meeting.

The full description of the art piece is as follows:

"Shaped by simple line and color, this abstract sculpture re-imagines the orca form. Eleven angled surfboards, align to create the whole. Viewing the sculpture from different perspectives offers many unique viewing opportunities showing movement from stillness. The piece transforms as the viewer moves with it. Looking through the sculpture suggests the piece is disappearing, a connection to nature's challenges for survival. The colors and polish absorb the reflection of the environment, a piece to encourage examination and interaction.
In collaboration with Indigenous Artist in Residence, Lindsay Delaronde, the inclusion of sound to add a multi-sensory element to this work is being developed. This proposed public art is located at a gateway into downtown Victoria surrounded by activity and travel. The monumental size of the work punctuates the site by adding a dynamic landmark at this iconic location. Placing the orca form as if it is coming up for air, a resident passing through, following a path home."
Johnson Street Bridge watchdog group has raised several questions with regards to the City of Victoria's public realm budget for the bridge project, earlier estimated to cost nearly $5.5 million. The latest budget is significantly lower, triggering the group to ask why the new budget estimates are a "third lower, and will [taxpayers] pay more later?"
Questions were also raised with regards to the steel from the old Johnson Street Bridge and it's formerly planned used in a public art component.
"We thought steel from the old bridge had been saved for incorporation into the public art; what happened to it? Does the proposed art use real surfboards? If so, won’t they get damaged? And why would such an installation cost $250K?" C

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