Sculpture to recognize Alaska Highway’s 75th anniversary

Four Peace Region artists will team up to convert an old Alaska Highway trencher into a sculpture to commemorate the Alcan’s 75th Anniversary.

On Monday, city council approved the sculpture in principle, setting aside a portion of the Northern Alberta Railway park at Mile Zero of the highway for the display.

It’s one of several projects planned to celebrate the highway’s construction, which began in 1942.

Donna Kane of the Peace Liard Regional Arts Council gave council details of the project at Monday’s meeting.

Four artists will leave their mark on the sculpture—two indigenous and two non-indigenous.

The indigenous artists are Adrienne Greyeyes, a Fort St. John resident and Emily Carr University of Art + Design graduate, and Brian Jungen, a sculptor who grew up at the Doig River First Nation.

Rolla artists Emilie Mattson and Karl Mattson, who built metal sculptures for the Dawson Creek traffic circle and city hall, will also contribute to the project.

Kane said having artists of different ancestry will allow for varied perspectives on the highway’s construction.

As for what the sculpture will look like?

“I can’t tell you at this point what it’s going to look like, it’s a creative process,” Kane told council. “I totally understand the city can’t give approval to something (if) it doesn’t know what it’s going to look like.”

The Caterpillar trencher donated by Roger Gregoire currently sits at the Mattson’s Rolla property, where much of the work will happen.

It’s one of four initiatives planned to mark the anniversary, including an Alaska Highway theme song contest. 2017 also marks the 150th year since Confederation, making it a potentially banner year for tourism.

Council will have a chance to review the sculpture before giving it the final nod.

The 1,300-mile highway was completed during World War II to connect Alaska to the contiguous U.S.

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