The Fourth Street Public Art Society

The society was established to implement the artistic direction of The City of Calgary and the Fourth Street Business Revitalization Zone. The Society has created an artistic ambience on Fourth Street with a unique sculpture theme that both entertains and educates.

To date, the Society has installed many sculptures all commissioned through arts competitions open to Alberta artists. The Fourth Street BRZ funds the project with matching grants from the Calgary Region Arts Foundation (CRAF), and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA). The following are descriptions of all of the pieces of work the Fourth Street Public Art Society commissioned.

Counting Crows

By Evelyn Grant at 13th avenue

“Counting Crows” is based on a traditional English rhyme, which was used to predict ones fortune according to the number of crows seen. The rhyme is presented in circular fashion, printed on the inlaid tile at the base of the piece. Pictorial symbols are also represented to enhance the piece: mirth (the sun, with the logo of the Coney island amusement park), happiness (the eight of hearts), gaiety (the nine of clubs), a new moon (new beginnings), and of course, the pointing fingers counting the crows.

About the Artist

Evelyn Grant is a graduate of both the University of Calgary, and Alberta College of Art fine arts programs. She has been a practicing artist since 1976. In addition to her studio practice, Evelyn also works as an educator, parent and visual arts coordinator with the City of Calgary. Her work is exhibited extensively throughout Canada and the United States. Although she works primarily in the ceramic medium, she has also worked on several large-scale mixed media pieces.

Aesop’s Fables

By Garry Williams at 14th avenue

Set in the Baptist church garden, this imposing 10 foot concrete obelisk contains four bronze relief panels on each of its four sides. The panels, each one of them different, would provide a visual narration of an Aesop’s Fable.

About the Artist

Garry (1956-2005) attended the Alberta Collage of Art, Banff School of Fine Arts and received his masters degree from the Nova Scotia Collage of Art and Design. His work is exhibited and collected internationally, but he loved Alberta and his prairie roots are reflected in the art he created over the past thirty years. Along with his work on 4th street he work included “rabbit wise” in Edgemont park and the “Chinook” manhole covers on many of the sidewalks around the city.

Shimmering Aspen

By Bill Johnston at 13th avenue

The Lollipop tree graces the entrance to an apartment building between 13th and 14th avenues where there are no street trees. The trees are constructed from stainless steel and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene. The truck is made of 2 sections of tubing to add a pivot bearing between the upper and lower section that allows the upper section to move in the wind.

About the Artist

Bill is a native Albertan and was born to teachers of the fine arts. His career as an architect has enabled him to integrate the spiritual, intellectual and technical aspects of the creative challenges encountered in his professional life. His interest in cycling led to the building of recumbent bicycles and he is currently developing a lightweight skin-on-frame canoe. When the opportunity presented itself bill has integrated architectural crafts into fabric of his buildings. Additions to the conventional building trade work include: wood carving by hand and machine, forged structural members, bent willow furniture, coppersmithing, heavy timber framing details, cob construction and stained glass

Chippendale Bench

By Karen HoFatt at 15th avenue

Chippendale couch adds a touch of whimsy to 4th Street by reconfiguring an antique couch and placing it in a modern street setting using contemporary materials and colours. This familiar and classic design has been redesigned to suit public use and pedestrian traffic. An antique brought to the masses in the form of textured metal with two concrete cushions and a laser cut cat.

About the Artist

Karen has won numerous awards for her sculpture and furniture design work. She is a full time artist and the creative director of Arkifx Design specializing in Architectural illustrations, painting, sculpture, and project management.

Hand Signals

By Derek Michael Besant at 15th avenue

Images based upon 6 hand gestures that are built pointing towards the street out from the wall mounted into the brick mortar the spell out the word DREAMS in sign language. Read from both traffic directions, they form a hand gesture language metaphor. Scale is large and easily recognized.

About the Artist

Derek Michael Besant is well known for his unorthodox use of materials and technology in creating exhibitions, installations and collaborations as a Canadian artist. The hybrid forms he realizes often include soundtracks that relate to his themes of memory, language, and the body as metaphor. The dislocation of the figure often haunts his imagery, whether he explores the themes of Sleep, Dreams, Migration, Forgetting, Falling, Silence, Reflection or Submersion. The physical / psyche balance is always in question in Besant’s projects, from his illusion in the form of a 50 foot high mural of a pinned veil on a building façade, a transported 115 foot high Waterfall to the heart of Toronto’s Banking District, two mammoth steel chairs balanced on one another or a stretch of prairie sky arching over six lanes of traffic; his public art pieces always take on their own life within the setting they are integrated into. Besant’s exhibitions in museums are often constructed around the ephemeral underpinnings of a concept without answers… only questions. Figures blur into oblivion, fall out of reach into nothing, leave their impressions in unmade motel bed sheets or sink below surfaces in poetic choreographed movements accompanied by strange soundscapes. These audio works including voice patterns reconstructed as water, train stations and freeways from London to Tokyo, bird and insect territorial calls erased by wind, or overheard partial phone conversations. But there is always a connection to the tactile materiality and the breath of whatever subtle gestures are investigated in his work.

Starting Fourth

by Garry Jones at 17th Avenue

The sculpture is comprised of an imposing group of seven figures, each over 7 feet in height. They are constructed from fiberglass composite materials and finished with a faux bronze and patina. “Starting Fourth” is a group of seven figures clustered together to create the impression of a crowd with a purpose. It says, in a whimsical manner, that apart from slight surface differences, all people are cut from the same mold” By Garry Jones 1995.

About the Artist

Gary is a full time artist, designer and fabricator who owns and manages a small company specializing in the development of commissioned artwork for corporate and institutional clients as well as designing and building a wide range of display fixtures and custom goods. A local artist, Garry graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta with his BFA.

Tree Houses

by Rick Silas at 18th Avenue

Rick utilizes the naturally existing fork in a Poplar tree as a standing point for his sculpture. The finished piece weighs one ton and is oiled and left to weather naturally. “The Tree House village is an idea I came up with as a way to use the forked section of poplar trees. I start by carving dozens of cubes from a thick cluster of bottom branches and then start detailing out buildings. This is a natural for Fourth Street with so many lovely structures around the community to work with.” By Rick Silas 1996

About the Artist

Rick is a sculptor and businessman. He has several hundred pieces to his credit and is presently operating a silastial glass studio on Vancouver Island. Rick specializes in recycled materials – glass, steel, stone, and wood which are purchased from industrial waste and turned into highly finished pieces of art.

Scene and Heard on Fourth

by Terry Gregoraschuk at 19th Avenue

Four cows and a dog amble south along 4th Street. The 5-foot high cows are constructed of steel, which will rust over time to resemble the warm, rich colour of Hereford cattle. The 2-foot high dog is made from stainless steel, offering a glittering contrast to the rich brown of the cows. The artist chose the animal theme as a traffic-stopper and a reminder of Calgary’s “Cowtown” image. Many hours of grinding and polishing were required to create the final images. By Terry Gregoraschuk 1999

About the Artist

Terry is a full time artist with his own studio where he creates sculptures and paintings. Born in Edmonton, he now resides in Calgary. Terry studied for three years at the Alberta Collage of Art and worked as a commercial artist and as an art director for Western Living Magazine. His work is featured in public and corporate collections throughout Alberta. The Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology, Canada Post and Environment Canada have also commissioned his work. Terry is a member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolor and the Alberta Society of Artists and has toured locally, nationally, and internationally with these groups.

Angel Heart

by Errol Lee Fullen at 19th Avenue

Created from welded and hand worked solid round bar and plate steel, Angel Heart is plated with copper, buffed to high polish and clear coated to postpone the oxidation process.The chimes are of aluminum and are tuned to full octave scale. Resting on a three-foot concrete base, the sculpture is 14 feet high with an eight-foot wingspan.

“Angel Heart is the life affirming symbol inspired by vision of angel wings. The “heart” of the sculpture is created from sound. I chose to employ sound as I felt it to be the most abstract and lyrical of the arts. I wished to create a sculpture that would work with the wind to create an anthem to the uplifting quality of the human spirit.” By Errol Lee Fullen 1993.

About the Artist

Born in Camrose, this native Albertan now makes his home in Calgary where he studied painting, printmaking and drawing at the University of Calgary and the Alberta College of Art. Errol Lee has shown his works in many solo and group shows throughout Calgary in addition to participating in the International Art Expo in Miami, Florida. Errol’s works are featured in numerous public and private collections locally and nationally.

Hanging Out

by Peter Smith at 21st Avenue

Three 10 foot high frogs lounging on a steel bench. The frogs are constructed of hand-welded steel and sheet metal, then painted with urethane. ” I have often used frogs metaphorically. In this piece, the frogs are simply hanging out. Because of their size, they are able to dominate a frog/human interaction – who is watching whom?! However, these amphibians are friendly; they may even make room on the bench for a stranger to shoot the breeze” By Peter Smith 1994

About the Artist

A resident of Calgary, Peter studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design where he received the Fourth year graduates award in 1972. He has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout Alberta and BC and has installed commissioned works in Calgary and Vancouver.

Dream Fragments

by Franklyn Hiesler at 23rd Avenue

The freestanding pieces are constructed of laminated plywood, painted with acrylic paint and finished with a weather protective ultra-violet coating. Components such as the door and door frame are made of welded steel. “Dream Fragments is meant to represent an Alice in Wonderland fragment of a dream by taking a component of our reality (the front of an office building) and shifting our perception of that by introducing objects such as the table, fruit and door.” By Franklyn Hiesler 1992

About the Artist

Franklyn lives in Calgary and is both a practitioner and educator in the arts. Community minded, he has been a practicing artist since 1975. Franklyn has exhibited extensively throughout Canada, has conducted numerous workshops and delivered many lectures across the country. He is a performance artist as well as a visual artist.

Welcoming the Sentinels of Time

by Ferdinando Spina at 24th Avenue

Over 15 foot tall sentinels arranged in a semi-circle welcome visitors. Bodies made from posts of pressure treated wood are topped with faces made to look 3-D by layering sculpted wood. All are finished with marine paint in bright primary colors to withstand the elements. Whimsical touches such as wings, bowties, facial features and busts in pounded copper or painted wood complete the overriding sense of happiness and fun. A sundial is set to show 12 noon in summer and winter. The base of each piece features ceramic inlaid concrete. “The star and Egyptian motifs symbolize rejuvenation, new life, spring and balance. I think of this really as a timeless piece, rather than a time piece.” By Ferdinando Spina 1996

About the Artist

A local artist, Fred Spina lives a life of balance – Balance between his career as a social worker helping abused children; his passion for art which is manifested by sculpting, painting and poetry writing; and his family life. Fred has been an artist in Calgary for nearly 20 years. He has exhibited nationally and internationally and has works in many public and private collections. The Vorpal Gallery in New York and San Francisco represents Fred’s works.