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City includes art in civic plaza plans

Laura Power
Northern News Services
Friday, August 3, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - The city and designer of the planned Somba K'e Civic Plaza are hoping to include artists in the design process, and in turn provide artists with another venue in which they can display their work.

The three-year plan was unveiled recently by Kayhan Nadji (of Nadji Architects), the designer. Though Nadji said plans for the plaza are very preliminary at the moment, he hopes to incorporate art into several areas on the grounds.

Tentative plans for a new library adjacent to the site include incorporating a separate room for art display and possibly even performances. Nadji said that during public consultations, people expressed an interest in art.

"That was a wish of the public to have an art room close to the area," he said, adding it would allow "artists to be closer to nature" which he feels would be inspirational for them.

Plans for the plaza include an ornamental garden area, an area with benches and art and a few scattered art pieces around the grounds.

"The idea for the civic plaza is to start developing a public art area," said Grant White, director of community services for the city.

He said the city is often approached by artists who have outdoor artwork, and that there are several organizations in town such as the Yellowknife Guild of Arts and Crafts which could be helpful in the development of the plan.

White also said that at this point, the artwork is not their immediate project as things such as the parking area and underground infrastructure need to be developed first. However, they have already brainstormed a little and are considering making a competition out of it for local artists.

Both White and Nadji said there are no set plans as of now.

"It's really wide open at this point in time in terms of the art areas," said White.