The Maple Ridge Public Art Steering Committee is pleased to announce that the first public art project was unveiled in Spirit Square, Memorial Peace Park on Tuesday, October 12 at 6:30 pm. The selected work, called Tendance, features large maple seeds cast in bronze which are strung along swirling stainless steel "curves" representing their spiral paths from tree to earth. Arising from a concrete base to a height of 20 feet, and illuminated by lighting integrated into the pedestal, the sculpture will be clearly visible day and night from all points around the Memorial Peace Park.
The project was commissioned by the District of Maple Ridge and is part of the larger inter-municipal Necklace project in which Maple Ridge and nine other municipalities in the Lower Mainland undertook the challenge to create their own metaphorical 'jewel' at strategically selected sites in the Lower Mainland.
The artist team, Michael Vandermeer and Cheryl Hamilton, explain that the inspiration for the project arose not only from the symbolic importance of the maple seed to the community but from impressions of the District itself:
"We saw Maple Ridge as rich in spirit, and it has an air of potential. … It struck us that many of the people we met seemed empowered by a clear sense of opportunity. ..we learned that the city is actively growing, for example, that there is a collaboration of civic and commercial interests to support a new public art program, new street furniture, a regional fair, and a Farmers Market."
The Mayor of Maple Ridge is quoted as saying, "Public art takes a variety of shapes and forms and it makes our community interesting. It touches our lives in a variety of ways whether it's on our way to work, while out for a stroll at lunch time or just taking a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood. A well-planned public art project ensures that the statement the work makes is in keeping with its surroundings, whether this be on a busy downtown street corner, in a green space or in an area that combines both rural and urban elements such as is the case with the piece destined for Memorial Peace Park. Another great addition to the heart of our community."