Client: City of Hamilton
Location: Hamilton, ON, Canada
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $113,675
Martin-Stewart Contracting Ltd.
Martin-Stewart Contracting Ltd.
J. H. Cohoon Engineering Ltd
Public Art Agent
Public Art, Tourism and Culture Division, City of Hamilton
Kyle Slote, Stevan Gacesa, Kim Ligers
Created by the Aluminum Quilting Society, coordinated by artist David Hind, “Raising the Barn” is an art work that honours Hamilton-area farmers, illustrates the role of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market connecting these food producers with the public and marking their place in the heart of the city. A 5.5 meter barn-shaped steel frame is in-filled with a collage of re-purposed aluminum. An image of a red barn faces the street, and two figures planting a garden face the sidewalk and market, surrounded by over 40 etched portraits of local farmers and food enthusiasts created by a multitude of local artists.
The goal of this Public Art project was to enhance the public space outside of the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, to mark its location, and to express the spirit and qualities of the Market to passing motorists and pedestrians.
Artists were asked to respond to values identified by Market and community stakeholders, who describe the Hamilton Farmers’ Market as:
• a people place where visitors and stall holders interact to create a welcoming sense of community;
• diverse, offering a unique variety of foods, merchandise and cultural experiences;
• a continually evolving community of innovative small businesses;
• a Hamilton institution with a long and rich history that inspires loyalty in the community; and
• a place where Hamiltonians are exposed to, educated about and connect with food and local agriculture.
“Raising the Barn” succeeds in creating an icon in the public realm expressing the characteristics of the Market to passers-by at the same time visually connecting the exterior sidewalk space to the large interior market hall through the Market’s large windows.
The jury noted that they “felt that this work will become a new downtown landmark –‘Meet me under the red barn’”.
The City of Hamilton defines public art as art created by artists, or in collaboration with artists, through a public process and existing on publicly owned and accessible property. Public art helps strengthen the city’s visual identity, stimulates the economy, and enhances tourism and community pride. Since 2010 the City’s public art program has received over 230 artist proposals, consulted with over 6250 members of the public and awarded 18 public art commissions.
Raising the Red Barn was selected from 48 submissions by a volunteer jury of citizens, artists and project stakeholders through the City of Hamilton’s public art process involving comments from over 1300 citizens.
The title of the work serves a dual purpose denoting a work that literally raises a barn, an icon of rural Ontario, above the sidewalk reminding the viewer of their connection to the rural landscape and agriculture. At the same time it also evokes a traditional rural Barn-Raising in the way it was created. David Hind issued an open invitation to local artists and citizens to contribute to the work by creating small individual pieces in aluminum as part of the Aluminum Quilting Society. These were then incorporated into the large collage image that faces the market façade.