For the first time in Castlegar Sculpturewalk’s 11-year history, there has been a tie for the People’s Choice Award, which is voted on via ballot.
Rebirth, by Winlaw artist Peter Vogelaar, and Choosing Hope, by Revelstoke artist Kyle Thornley, equally won the public’s hearts, and fortunately, both sculptures will remain permanently in Castlegar, adding to the community’s growing permanent public art collection.
“We are thrilled to be able to announce two winners for the 2021 People’s Choice Award, though initially it created quite a dilemma for us,” says Sculpturewalk executive director Joy Barrett.
The City of Castlegar buys the winner each year for its growing public art collection, but they would not have been able to buy both pieces.
Barrett says rather than go a tie-breaker, which they felt would be unfair to the artists, Sculpturewalk sought community support to buy the second sculpture.
The Castlegar Rotary Club, through their community bingo fund, committed to purchasing Rebirth.
“We are incredibly grateful for their support, and thankful that these two amazing sculptures – deservedly tied for favourite! – will continue to brighten our hearts for decades to come,” Barrett says.
“The Castlegar Rotary Club shares in the excitement and contribution that Sculpturewalk has provided to our community,” comments Rotary Club President Dave Kravski.
“The decision to purchase Rebirth was unanimously approved by our membership to show our commitment to the betterment of our community while creating a legacy to build on. Congratulations to the winners. We can see why a tie has occurred! Our community Rotary bingo has been a huge success and will continue to allow us and our partnering clubs to give back to our communities.”
Rebirth, a mosaic matryoshka, is inspired by nature. Traditionally, matryoshkas (Russian nesting dolls) are a representation of the mother carrying a child within her, used to illustrate the unity of body, soul, mind, heart, and spirit.
An artist for close to 50 years, Vogelaar is a master in a variety of mediums. Focusing on sculpting over the past two decades, he’s won world and Olympic championships in sand and snow, along with public and private art commissions across the continent.
Choosing Hope is fashioned from copper and stainless steel. Thornley, an artist blacksmith, has been creating art with metals through architectural metalwork, commissions, exhibitions and public art for over 15 years. He says he’s compelled by the practice of blacksmithing, including the technical and physical demands, the artistic and utilitarian impact, the link to deep, historical roots, and the integrity of the media itself.
The full awards list is as follows:
People’s Choice Winners:
Choosing Hope by Kyle Thornley (Revelstoke)
Rebirth by Peter Vogelaar (Winlaw)
People’s Choice Runner-up: Ode to Bees by Lawrence Cormier (Penticton)
Artistic Merit Winner: Rebirth by Peter Vogelaar (Winlaw)
Artistic Merit Runner-up: Space Junk by Rabi’a (Winlaw)
Artistic Merit 3rd Place: I Live Because Everything Else Does by Kyle Thornley (Revelstoke)