Monday, March 14, 2016

New banner artwork celebrates beauty of Calgary architecture

Spring brings to mind freshness, bright colours and vibrancy; nowhere is that more apparent than on the new banners being installed throughout our Centre City.

This year, Calgary-based artist Sheila Kernan has produced seven original canvas paintings highlighting Calgary’s urban culture. The paintings integrate architecture from across the city to create unique streetscapes and skylines.

Her artwork, titled Our Calgary, celebrates the diversity and beauty of Calgary and its distinctive architecture.

“I have always been endlessly fascinated by how our city transforms at night,” Kernan says. “There is an energy that emulates from flickering neon lights casting amazing patterns and reflections onto our majestic buildings.”

The banners are being installed as part of the Centre City Banner Program, in partnership with Public Art.

Banners are displayed on seven bridges leading into the core and on the Olympic Plaza pergola, acting as gateways to Calgary’s downtown and cultural district.

“The program helps beautify our gateways into the Centre City, animating our downtown with bold punches of colour,” says Graham Gerylo, Project Manager in The City’s new Urban Strategy Department. “It provides an opportunity for local artists to build their portfolio and showcase their work in an open-air gallery format.”

Kernan’s artwork takes inspiration from a variety of structures and juxtaposes new with old, such as the historic Centre Street Bridge with the recently built Peace Bridge. This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the Centre Street Bridge. Kernan has paid tribute by adding lion emblem motifs and stucco patterns into her canvasses.

“I hope the artwork and the placement of the banners provides an engaging narrative for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to enjoy,” Kernan says. “I also help it encourages Calgarians to reflect upon what our great city has to offer.”

An opening reception to celebrate Kernan’s work for this project is being held on Saturday, April 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Gibson Fine Art gallery. Please visit the artist’s website for more details.

Visit for more information on the banner program and to view past and present artwork. The City is planning a celebration to mark the 100-year anniversary of the Centre Street Bridge this summer.

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