This time next week Stella will have moved in and the welcome party will have taken place.

August 19, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  Stella is moving from New Brunswick to the corner of Locust and Elgin, perched on the edge of the plaza outside the Performing Arts Centre.

Stella is a beauty – her full name is Spiral Stella and she came out of Peter Powning’s studio in New Brunswick.  Her pedigree? Pure Burlington – with several centuries of history all over her.

Spiral Stella is the most recent piece of public art set up in the city.  This latest effort is the result of a generous donation from Dan Lawrie, a Burlington businessman who, besides being a successful insurance company owner is also an artist in his own right.

Dan Lawrie, an artist in his own right and also collector sits with a piece of art that is part of his collection. It was the Lawrie donation that got the city to

He approached the city and offered to donate $37,500 for a major piece of public art.  The city went to Jeremy Freiburger, head honcho over at Cobalt Connects, its managing partner for the Public Art Program and he set up a volunteer committee that would judge the submissions that came in

And come in they did.  There were 119 submissions from artists from across North America.

Olympian Melanie Booth brought her medal to have an impression made and hopefully have it become part of the Spiral Stella sculpture. Jeremy Freiburger, on the right, the city’s managing partner for the Public Art Program, admires the medal. Trevor Copp, one of the members of the jury that chose Powning’s submission is beside Ms Booth.

The committee narrowed the 119 down to five and asked the public for comment: more than 500 people responded and out of those comments came the decision to select Powning’s Spiral Stella.

Powning was not a newcomer to Burlington.  He has five pieces of his work in the permanent collection at the Burlington Art Centre. Link to first stage

Powning made impressions in artist’s clay which he took back to his studio in New Brunswick and made bronze castings that will be affixed to the Spiral Stella. Shown here is one of the early castings. See anything that you recognize?

Boy who just cannot keep his eyes off the work artist Peter Powning does as he makes impressions in clay – the first stage of the creation of the Spiral Stella that will sit outside the Performing Arts Centre.

 Powning uses artifacts that come from the community to tell its story.  Hundreds trooped over to the Burlington Art Centre to have an impression made of their artifacts.  No one knew exactly where there object was going to appear on the Spiral – Powning didn’t know either when he was making the impressions.  What would go where was the creative part of the project.  Next Sunday we will get to see what Powning decided to do.

It should be quite stunning.

Work crew prepares the base for Peter Powning’s Spiral Stella that will arrive in town later this week and be unveiled on Sunday,

Originally the sculpture was going to be to the north of the walkway leading into the Performing Arts Centre but besides being open to a street where a vehicle could run into it, the location was too close to an oil pipeline that runs underneath Elgin Street.  The sculpture will not sit to the left of the walkway and be part of the Performing Arts plaza.  Much better location for this art.

Burlington is clearly on a roll.  The pier was successfully opened, the public loves the place and now we are going to see an exceptional piece of art in a location where thousands can see the work.

The last piece of public art the city put up was nice enough but it got plunked down in the middle of a high traffic road where care zoomed by as they slipped through a railway grade separation on Upper Middle Road.

Nice art, wrong location.

 Stella will be in a great location.



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