Community Confluence

Submitted by Bill Frymire

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Client: City of Kamloops

Location: Kamloops, BC, Canada

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $167,000

Project Team

Artist

William Frymire

Fry Design Ltd.

Public Art Agent

Ryan Maalerud, Project Manager

City of Kamloops

Fabricator

Jon Franklin, Kamloops Powdercoating

Kamloops Powdercoating

Overview

A monumental mosaic celebrating place and community, this piece covers three faces of a 4-story parking structure. An abstract, topographical view of the meeting of The North and South Thompson rivers, the foundations of the piece in turn depict the meeting of land and people.
• 80,000 diamond-shaped tiles, each representing a local resident, in one of 60 diverse colors and size amalgams. When observed from the street a view of their locale emerges.
• Abstract diamond patterns materialize throughout the image symbolizing the various organizations who bind the community together, recalling the peaks and valleys of the mountainous terrain embracing the river and the community.
• Represented by 7,000 kinetic, shimmering tiles that dance in the breeze, a respectful nod to the local indigenous term Tk’emlups, or “meeting of the waters”, from which Kamloops derives its name, the river weaves through the heart of the community.

Dimensions: 356 ft. x 37 ft.
Medium: anodized and powder-coated aluminum, stainless steel

Goals

An aging parking garage emerges as a source of pride within a community, creating a beautiful focal point out of a utilitarian structure and capturing the imagination of both locals and visitors.

The artwork goals were to:
• celebrate the beauty of the local environment and landscape
• represent community
• embrace diversity
• showcase sustainable art practices

The city committed to rejuvenating the aging structure, including exterior painting and road upgrades, at a cost of approximately $500,000. Working with the artist they wanted artwork that brought the community together. Thus, additional improvements included installation of stainless steel webnet for attaching the mosaic tiles. This art and infrastructure collaboration was designed as a significant lasting gift to the community, invigorating Lansdowne Street and elevating the face of downtown to a modern urban business district.

Materials were selected with durability and sustainability in mind.
• Aluminum is highly recyclable, lightweight and rust free.
• Fabrication and installation processes utilized reusable connectors attaching the vinyl print templates that have since been repurposed for local art groups and reused by the artist.
• Careful planning ensures the finished project will last for decades.

Process

A community-centered process involving collaboration between many different residents and local groups, this project is the result of the work of many hands.

The City of Kamloops approached the artist with the idea to translate a local photograph onto the
surface of the parkade. After consultation with local art groups, a more artistic/abstract approach was embraced. Taking this guidance, the artist presented a variety of options for consideration.

• The artist worked closely with local architects, City of Kamloops officials and project managers as well as independent contractors.
• Effort was made to engage the services of local businesses throughout fabrication and installation.
• The magnitude and detail involved required a large fabrication and installation crew comprised of a wide range of residents including local students and maker space members aged 12-92.
• Tiles were designed and fabricated in the artist’s studio and powder coating occurred in concert with local manufacturers.
• Much of the design was installed from within the parkade.
• Design and fabrication took one year, while installation took 10 weeks.

The final design worked in harmony with the underlying diamond structure of the web net, representing the local landscape of rivers mountains and valleys

Additional Information

Bill Frymire’s work is often informed by layers of visual perception with finite points of story that, when combined into a larger whole, offer the viewer a sense of great expansion and connectiveness. In this artwork a final piece of discoverable context for the viewer is a single uncoated tile directly linked to the viewer’s topographical location. If an intrepid viewer were to ascend the parking structure and find this tile, they would be greeted with the words, “you are here”. Both simple and complex, this profound message speaks of individuality, community, and global connection. The viewer becomes part of the magic at that point and the world that was extended to the outer reaches of their vision is suddenly drawn to this one point and they become part of the story. Early in the installation, a local artist offered feedback on the orientation of the installation of the metallic kinetic tiles “They looked great from right below, but from a distance they disappear.” Frymire welcomed the suggestion and changed the design so that half the tiles were flipped in the opposite direction, broadening the perspective and giving the piece presence from close up and far away.