Niagara Falls eyes new public art piece, asks for public’s critique of options


Published April 28, 2022 at 5:20 pm

Niagara Falls is asking resident to open their artistic eye and critique a variety of options for a new public art piece set to grace the Niagara Falls Exchange.

The city has shortlisted five artists and creative teams to each design potential pieces, funded by a $2,000 stipend to cover costs. All five designs are up for review from the public on Niagara Falls’ Let’s Talk service.

The city is asking residents to consider three main questions when reviewing the pieces;

  • What way does this work show originality or creativity?
  • Is this work interesting and engaging?
  • How does this work fit within the location on Main Street in front of the Niagara Falls Exchange?

After considering the public’s feedback an adjudication panel will decide the final winner, who will then install the art piece. The winning structure will fill the Main Street Plaza, “intended as an urban, hardscaped plaza,” by the city.

The chosen project will receive a $90,000 for installation on a covered rise featuring a serviceberry tree and Japanese Spurge ground cover.

First up, the design of Nicholas Crombach an 80 inch by 80 inch sculpture of three birds jostling for position in flight. ”

“Rendered at a larger than life scale and positioned to create a roughly pyramidal shape, these unique yet unified birds represent three of the many diverse bird species who migrate to and from the Niagara region each year,” Crombach said, “much like the tourists and locals who travel to and from Niagara in various seasons.”

Next up is Germaine Koh’s design. The interactive work features three podium seats that adjust in height with the weight from people sitting on the stool attached to a hydraulic piston. This pressure change should result in ten inches of movement.

“The artwork will reiterate the site’s history and renewed function as a place of interchange, by creating a welcoming and engaging situation for social exchange that also harkens to conditions such as business transactions and industrial activity that have contributed to the character of the city,” said Koh of the piece.

Another option is a statue by Slipper Liu Studio. This piece feature two stone figures resembling husk dolls. The twins, a girl with a long braid  giving a toast and a boy snapping a photo of the audience, would stand about six foot four. The statue is meant to honour the Haudenosaunee people who first called Niagara home.

“Our concept encapsulates The Niagara Falls Exchange’s historical context of the Haudenosaunee, early pioneers with a strong connection to the Farming community, wine industry, arts, and music of the diverse Niagara Falls community of today,” the Studio said, “The Niagara Falls Husk Dance is an emblematic cultural destination sparking photo opportunities as social engagement and memory keepsakes.”

Finally, is Kyle Thornley’s piece, dubbed ‘Creating a Buzz.’ A sculpture of coloured fingertips protruding from the ground holding paint brushes dipped in paint, representing symbolic flowers, and ringed by bees.

Thornley said, “The sculpture provides a stirring sense of motion, the bees actively in flight, gathering food and pollinating, a fitting metaphor for the activities of The Exchange. The sensory-rich experience of the installation encourages feelings of celebration, curiosity, optimism, and well -being– abundant potential to highlight the goals of this meaningful project.”

Residents have until May 5 to write up their reviews of each piece online.