Now Touring: Public Art Billboards

Your Public Art Collection

The Project

Now Touring: Public Art Billboards shines a spotlight on artwork from Calgary’s Public Art Collection by making it part of people’s daily commutes. 

Starting in December 2023 and running throughout 2024, selected works from the City of Calgary Public Art Collection that people don’t get to see on a regular basis will be featured on billboards across the city. These works, selected by Calgary Public Art lead curator Sophia Lebessis, are currently in storage and not on display to the public. Many of the billboards will be located in parts of the city that are not home to permanent public art installations. 

The City of Calgary has an art collection of more than 1,300 works, including: outdoor sculptures, installations integrated into infrastructure, monuments, memorials, environmental art, temporary projects, street art and functional objects. Calgary’s Public Art Collection also includes an assortment of portable art — photographs, paintings, sculptures, glass, installations, ceramic and textiles — that are rotated throughout city spaces and public areas such as parks, plazas, recreational facilities, public buildings and the Plus 15 network. 

Calgary’s Public Art Collection began growing in 1911 through donations and is now the oldest and most substantive public art collection in the province. Much of the historical artwork in the collection was acquired through private donations. 

At any given time, approximately 80 per cent of the collection is on free public display for Calgarians to enjoy. When artworks are not being rotated through public spaces or out on loan, they are kept in a storage facility where maintenance and conservation work ensures they will continue to be enjoyed by future generations. 

The public art collection has been growing alongside our city, building on the importance of art and storytelling in our collective memory. Throughout the year, the artworks on billboards will allow Calgarians to have a glimpse at our cultural heritage through artworks featured on these outdoor canvases. 

Calgary Arts Development is the commissioning body for new public art projects, while the collection is stewarded by The City of Calgary. 

Learn more about the collection here.

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Title:

Now Touring: Public Art Billboards

Project Completion:

December 2023 - 2024

Location:

Throughout Calgary

About the Artist

The first series of artworks were curated by Sophia Lebessis.

Sophia Lebessis is an art curator, storyteller, Inuit art expert and producer who has called Calgary home since 2002. Sophia grew up with her family run Arctic art cooperative and galleries in Banff National Park.