Victoria airport calls for $100,000 art installation

Victoria International Airport is calling on local artists in a request for proposals for an original piece to be displayed in its expanded departure lounge.

The art can hang from the ceiling, stand on the floor or consist of more than one piece.

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The budget is $100,000.

Once installed in spring 2020, it will join the airport’s collection of indoor and outdoor art. The airport also features two walls of rotating artworks provided by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria.

“It is a program that we have developed over time and it has evolved as we add more space in the airport. We think it is just a fantastic opportunity to display the work of our talented local artists,” Geoff Dickson, president and chief executive of the Victoria Airport Authority, said Wednesday. “I think it is important for us to support the local arts. It just gives more interest to our customers.”

Local art creates a sense of pride-of-place at the airport, Dickson said. It also delivers another component to the experience of travelling.

“Whenever people are travelling, they give away a certain degree of control and when you give away a certain degree of control you are not quite as relaxed and as calm as you would normally be. The more things that we can do to create that sense of calmness, it just helps the overall travel experience for our customers,” Dickson said.

The airport’s ground-level departure lounge is in the midst of a $19.4-million expansion, which will double seating capacity and add food and beverage outlets, retail space and storage.

The addition is to be finished by spring 2020.

Vancouver Island and Gulf Island artists and designers are invited to respond to the request for proposals from the airport. New and emerging artists are welcome.

The piece will be installed on the north side of the terminal addition, as a focal point at the end of the central walkway in the lower departure lounge.

Natural materials must be used. It is intended to “reinforce the concept of sense of place, in any way the artist(s) may envision, while being transparent, light and integrated into the airport design.”

Some practical criteria: if it is hanging, it can’t weigh more than 400 kilograms due to the roof structure’s capacity. If it is on the ground, the top weight allowed is 1,500 kilograms.

The selection process has two stages. A letter of interest and examples of work must be submitted first. A shortlist of up to five artists will be drawn up. Each will be paid an honorarium of between $500 and $1,000 to prepare a preliminary concept. An airport committee including community representatives will vote on the winning submission. The final choice will be announced in January 2019.

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