Mayor's Arts Award for Public Art

Profile image of Bryan Newson, and Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling

2017 recipients

Bryan Newson


Bryan Newson graduated from UBC in 1970 with a BA in literature and political science. In 1986, he joined City of Vancouver colleagues, artists and others in setting up the City's Public Art Program for Civic and Private Development, which was his privilege to lead until 2016.

Newson states that the best and most innovative parts of the public art program are all based on input from the many, many artists, curators, City Councillors and others whose collective efforts enable artists to make, in public, important cultural statements about the times and place in which we live.

Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling

Emerging artists

Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling have been collaborating since 2007. Their projects take shape as public installations, social situations and events that circulate as photographs, videos, printed matter, and artists’ multiples. They are currently fascinated with the “contact high” intrinsic to collaborative work, especially in their recent projects with children. Giant vegetable growers, orienteers and therian teens also feature in their work.

Since 2015, Reed and Jickling have been co-developing Big Rock Candy Mountain with the students, teachers and administrators at Queen Alexandra Elementary School in East Vancouver. Supported by Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, Big Rock Candy Mountain privileges a wide range of productive capacities and processes that expand traditional notions of public art. Reed and Jickling currently teach at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, located within the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Tseil-Watuth and Squamish First Nations.

Past recipients

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Instant Coffee


Instant Coffee is a service-oriented artist and curatorial collective based in Winnipeg and Vancouver. Since establishing in 2000, IC’s solo exhibitions have included UDT at the Art Gallery of Ontario; Take the Easy Way, MKG127, Toronto and The hero, the villain, the salesman, the parent, a side kick and a servant, Simon Fraser Art Gallery, Vancouver.

They will launch a publication with Western Front in fall 2016, relating to their exhibition Feeling So Much Yet Doing So Little. IC recently launched Colours, a public artwork at Metrotown, and are currently participating in the Fieldhouse Residency Program with the City of Vancouver. As part of the 2010 Cultural Olympic program in Vancouver, IC opened Light Bar, a full-spectrum light bar installation and venue. Instant Coffee’s current members are Jinhan Ko, Jenifer Papararo, and Khan Lee. Recent members include Kelly Lycan (2005-2015), Kate Monroe (1999-2014) and Cecilia Berkovic (2000-2014).

Krista Belle Stewart

Emerging artist

Krista Belle Stewart’s work engages the complexities of intention and interpretation made possible by archival material. Krista Belle’s exhibition Motion and Moment Always at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2015) marked the first solo exhibition of her work and the culmination of fall 2014 residencies at the Nisga’a Museum and Western Front. The exhibition comprised new works developed in Nisga’a and at her ancestral home in Douglas Lake, BC. 

Her work Seraphine, Seraphine was exhibited at Mercer Union, Toronto (2015) in collaboration with the 28th Images Festival. She has exhibited in group shows including Where Does it Hurt?, Artspeak, Vancouver (2014), Music from the New Wilderness, Western Front, Vancouver (2014), and Fiction/Nonfiction, Esker Foundation, Calgary (2013). Krista Belle holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in upstate New York. She is a member of the Upper Nicola Band of the Okanagan Nation, and lives and works in Vancouver and Brooklyn.

Liz Magor


Liz Magor has been making and exhibiting sculpture since the mid ‘70s. She exhibits internationally and across the country, including:

  • A current exhibition at Peephole in Milan, Italy
  • A 15-year survey at the Art Gallery of Ontario
  • An upcoming 40-year survey at the Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal

In 2001, she was awarded the Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts. She received the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2009, and in 2014, she was chosen for the Gershon Iskowitz Prize.

She has taught at a number of institutions across Canada and is professor emeritus of the Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Liz has completed five public sculptures, including LightShed at Coal Harbour and Ninth Column in False Creek Flats.

Devon Knowles

Emerging artist

Devon Knowles is a Canadian artist based in Vancouver. She received her master of fine arts from the University of Victoria in 2008 and her bachelor of fine arts in Studio Arts from the University of Guelph 2001.

In sculpture, site-specific projects and public art, Devon sifts through the histories, economies and social meanings of diverse materials – from concrete and pavers to printed textiles and coloured glass. It is in her working and reworking of materials that their everyday function and context shift and our appreciation for their properties and capacities becomes heightened.

Devon has had two public art commissions to date, Total Running Time (2015) for Bosa Properties and Near As Far As Far As Near (2014) for Simon Fraser University Community Trust.

She has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in Europe, the US, and Canada, participated in international residencies and has received grants from municipal, provincial and federal councils.

Al McWilliams


Al McWilliams, 2014 Mayor's Arts Award for Public Art honoureeAl McWilliams is a graduate of the Vancouver School of Art where he studied sculpture. He has exhibited extensively throughout Canada, the US, and Europe. His work is in most major public collections in Canada and many private and corporate collections in North America and Europe.

Al has been involved in numerous public art projects across Canada, as well as in the US and Japan. His concern for public space led him to become a founding member of the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Committee.

Al’s work is rooted in the belief that art, in dialogue with other disciplines, can play a major role in the shaping of public spaces. 

Cedric, Nathan, and Jim Bomford

Emerging artists

Cedric, Nathan, and Jim Bomford, 2014 Mayor's Arts Award for Public Art emerging artistsCedric Bomford works in Vancouver and Winnipeg, where he is an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba’s School of Art. His brother Nathan Bomford lives and works on Vancouver Island and received his master of fine arts degree from the University of Victoria in 2006.

Their father, Jim Bomford, is a retired engineer living and working in Cowichan Bay, BC. All three have exhibited nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions. Currently, their collaborative work Deadhead, a large-scale sculptural installation mounted to a barge, is touring the waterways of Greater Vancouver and may pop up in the most unexpected of locations.

Ken Lum


2013 Public Art Honoree Ken LumKen Lum grew up in East Vancouver and his public works in Vancouver include "Monument for East Vancouver", "Four Boats Stranded: Red and Yellow, Black and White", "A Tale of Two Children: A Work for Strathcona" and "from shangri-la to shangri-la". He has also completed public artworks in Toronto, Edmonton, St. Louis, New Orleans, Louisiana, St. Moritz, Vienna and Utrecht.

For his outstanding work, he has garnered a Killam Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Distinguished University Professor Award, a Dorothy Somerset Award and a Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award. He has represented Canada in biennales in Sydney, São Paulo, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Liverpool, Istanbul, South Korea and Moscow.

Lum’s artwork has included furniture sculpture, language paintings, photo mirrors, and ersatz shop signs that deal with issues such as race and class. There is a critical edge to his collation of identity with the influence of corporate power and mass media.

Currently, Lum is a professor in the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Lum has taught and held positions at the University of BC, École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, Bard College and the China Art Academy.

Rebecca Bayer

Emerging artist

2013 Public Art Emerging Artist Rebecca BayerRebecca Bayer is a Vancouver-based artist who examines the active relationships between people, material, and atmospheric surroundings. Bayer pursues these themes through art projects and proposals for urban public space in combination with her research and teaching interests. Her recent “Give & Take” project with the Burnaby Art Gallery was an experiment in the free exchange of one item for another.

Previous works in Vancouver have dealt with relationships between urban pedestrians and existing built conditions: “Shelf Project” (Main Street Viaduct, 2010), “Floor Project” (Burrard Bridge, 2010), “Moving Space Diorama” (corner of Davie and Seymour, 2011).

She holds a master of architecture degree from the University of British Columbia and a master of fine arts from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Bayer is currently an artist-in-residence at Kitsilano's Hadden Park Field House.

Jerry Pethick (posthumous)


Jerry Pethick (1935 – 2003) was born in London, Ontario and in 1957 moved to London, UK to study at the Chelsea College of Art and later at the Royal College of Art. In 1968 he moved to Ann Arbor and then San Francisco. In 1975 he moved permanently to Hornby Island, British Columbia, where he lived and worked until the end of his life.

Known for his innovative contribution to early holographic studies and his diverse practice as an artist who sought to disrupt and create new understandings of material space through sculpture and installation, his work has been shown and collected internationally since the late 1960s and numerous monographs and artists' books have been published on his work. He has a forthcoming exhibition at Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver in September of this year and in 2014 the Vancouver Art Gallery will mount a retrospective of his work.

Samuel Roy-Bois

Emerging artist

2012 Emerging Artist Samuel Roy-BoisSamuel Roy-Bois currently resides in Vancouver and hails from Quebec City. He acquired his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Université Laval in Quebec (1996) and a Masters of Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montréal (2001).

His installations have been shown across Canada and internationally; his solo exhibitions include Polarizer (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, 2009), Let us, then, be up and doing... (Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2008), Divertissements, Point éphémère (Paris, 2007), Improbable and ridiculous (Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, 2006), and J'ai entendu un bruit, je me suis sauvé (Or Gallery, Vancouver, 2003). He was artist-in-residence at Langara College in 2011-2012 and currently teaches at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

The 2012 peer jury was Alan Store, George Rammell, and Barbara Cole.

Barbara Cole


2011 Public Art Honouree Barbara ColeBarbara Cole is an artist, curator, educator, and curatorial consultant in public art. She is the founder and executive director of Other Sights for Artists' Projects, a non-profit society that collaborates and shares resources to present artworks that consider the aesthetic, economic, and regulatory conditions of public places and public life.

Barbara has led workshops, lectured widely, and published articles on the subject of art in public space. She taught at Emily Carry University of Art + Design from 1884 to 1999, and worked as a consultant to the City of Vancouver's Public Art Program from 1999 to 2004. She has served on the boards of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Contemporary Art Gallery, is currently on the board of Artspeak Gallery, is a member of the PuSh Festival Leader's Council, and has participated as a jury member for numerous art initiatives.


Emerging artists

2011 Public Art Emerging Artists NormaNorma is a collective of seven artists, currently based in Canada and Japan. The group has been producing performance and installation works—for gallery and public contexts—since 2003. Members of the collective are Vanessa Kwan, Diana Lopez-Soto, Christy Myiri, Josh Neelands, Pietro Sammarco, Erica Stocking, and Kara Uzelman.

The 2011 peer jury was Rita Beiks, Ken Lum, Alan Storey, and George Rammell.

George Norris


2010 Honouree Artist George NorrisGeorge Norris has dedicated his life to serving the public good, advocating urban reform, and enhancing some of British Columbia’s most prominent public spaces with his artworks.

Born in Victoria and raised in Vancouver, he graduated from the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art + Design). In 1951, he went to New York to study under internationally renowned Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and became his personal studio assistant for two years. Afterwards, he traveled extensively across Europe studying art and returned to Vancouver in 1956 to establish his studio and begin a prolific 30-year career designing and creating some of Western Canada’s best known public sculptures, two of which are "Mother" and "Child and Fighting Crabs".

Many of his masterpieces are featured on the University of British Columbia campus, as well as at the entrance to the naval base in Esquimalt and the main branch of Victoria’s public library. His iconic 6.7 metre tall stainless steel crab welcomes visitors to the Museum of Vancouver and HR MacMillan Space Centre.

Mr Norris has lectured at UBC, the Vancouver School of Art, the Penticton Summer School of the Arts, and the Banff School of Fine Arts. Now, after countless successful endeavours as a public artist, he has retired to a home in Victoria.

Reece Terris

Emerging artist

2010 Emerging Artist Reece TerrisReece Terris is a Vancouver-based artist whose work alters the expected experiential qualities of a place or object through an amplification or shift in the primary function of an original design.

Past projects include a six-storey apartment building temporarily installed into the rotunda of the Vancouver Art Gallery, a wooden pedestrian bridge connecting two residential homes, and an architectural false front added onto an existing false front of an artist run centre.

His practice is manifest through a variety of media including sculpture, performance, installation, and photography. Quite often, through their hybrid execution, he complicates the traditional definitions of each of these.

Reece’s work has been shown locally and internationally since his graduation from Simon Fraser University in 2006. Exhibitions include: Anna Leonowens Gallery, NSCAD, Halifax, 2010; The Western Front, Vancouver, 2010; Vancouver Art Gallery, 2009; The Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, 2008; Art Miami Art Fair, 2007; Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, 2006; Drake Hotel, Toronto, 2006; and The Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, 2005.

The 2010 peer jury was Rita Beiks, Ken Lum, and Alan Storey.

Alan Storey


2009 Honouree Artist Alan StoreyAlan Storey is a Vancouver artist working both locally and internationally. He studied visual arts at Okanagan College and received a BFA major in sculpture from the University of Victoria and has a 30-year history of creating site-specific public art.

Mr Storey is best known for the “Pendulum” installation in the HSBC Bank building on Georgia in Vancouver. Other large projects include: “Urban Language”, in Montreal; “Slowswing with Panel Discussion” in Olympia, Washington; and more recently, “Public Service/Private Step” outside the new Environment Canada Building at 401 Burrard Street in Vancouver. Another recent project, “Compass”, for the new Bellevue City Hall in Washington, was selected as one of the top 20 Public Art installations out of over 400 in the USA of 2006, by the Americans for the Arts Societies Year in Review.

Erica Stocking

Emerging Artist

2009 Emerging Artist Erica StockingErica Stocking lives and works in Vancouver, where she received her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2004.

Her work explores the public and private spheres in site-specific installations that have included: the creation of a half-sized hotel room behind the wall of Lobby Gallery, located within a Vancouver hotel; a tableau displayed in the storefront window of Artspeak Gallery; and a bachelor apartment visible from inside and outside Gallery Two of the Richmond Art Gallery.

As part of How Soon is Now, at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Ms Stocking installed mannequins from a nearby shopping mall in the windows of the north façade, bedecked with garments from the gallery’s Lost and Found. Her conflation of interior and exterior spaces summons up dilemmas of voyeurism and exhibitionism and how these opposites commingle in contemporary consumer and digital culture.

Ms Stocking is a founding member of the performance collective Norma, whose work is drawn from concepts of group identity, popular culture, and social behaviour.

The 2009 peer jury was Rita Beiks, Maureen Smith, and Ken Lum.

John Mitchell and Vincent Trasov


This pair is being honoured for their body of work, including the Mr Peanut Campaign of 1974, a landmark conceptual performance art piece. Mr Trasov is a painter, video, and performance artist, whose work is often media-based and collaborative in spirit. In 1969, he founded Image Bank with Michael Morris; in 1973, he was co-founder and co-director of Western Front Society; in 1981, he was a guest of Berliner Kuenstlerprogramm DAAD to Berline; and in 1990, he and Morris founded the Morris/Trasov Archive to research contemporary art and communication. He has had numerous international exhibitions and is represented in public and private collections in North America and Europe.

The 2008 peer jury was Amir Ali Alibhai, Greg Bellerby, Barbara Cole, David Dove, Arthur Erikson, Gathie Falk, Anne Marie Fleming, Susan Gordon, Michel Jacob, Bruno Marti, Terry McEvoy, Laurie McGauley, Barbara-Jo McIntosh, John McLachlan, George McWhirter, Eric Metcalfe, Jonathan Middleton, Melanie O’Brian, Stephen Osborne, Christina Ritchie, Jim Sinclair, Trudy Van Dop, Lorenz von Ferson, and Hal Wake.