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Vancouverís Coolest Public Art: The Drop

Where: Downtown, Vancouver, Canada
August 17, 2010 at 2:31 PM | by | ()

Photo: Ted Topping

Vancouver is still basking in the afterglow of the 2010 Winter Olympics and one of the best remnants of the Games is the public art that now decorates the cityís parks and buildings. For the next few weeks, Jaunted's Vancouver Embed Tuija Seipell of The Cool Hunter will be reporting on the best of the bunch.

The massive, vibrantly blue Drop is part of the Vancouver Convention Centre Art Project. Located right at the edge of the new building, the 65-foot tall Drop overlooks the cruise ships departing for Alaska and the float planes taking off for the islands.

It is the first North American commission for Inges Idee, a group of four German artists who have created large-scale sculptures around the world since 1993. At first glance, the Drop appears to be made of glass, but its central ďspineĒ is made of steel, then covered with Styrofoam coated with a thick, strong coat of blue polyurethane. The elegant figurehead pays homage to the omnipresence of water in Vancouver.

Photo: Ted Topping

As you are exploring the Convention Centre area, donít forget to go inside to see some of the awesome art there. The three large but weightless-looking Floats suspended from the ceiling are made of about 5,000 canes from the pine beetle-infested forests near Merrit, British Columbia. According to their creator, Finnish sculptor Jaakko Pernu (whose first North American installation this is), the Floats represent the rivers of the West Coast.

Remember to take the walkway connecting the new and old convention centres. It is under street level but one side is entirely made of glass. If you are there when a cruise ship is at the dock, you will have an awesome water-level perspective of the massive vessels.

Inside the walkway, above your head, hangs a school of beautiful salmon. It is a work by Joseph Wilson of the Coast Salish First Nation and his brother Richard. Called Successful Journey, it reflects the crucial importance of the salmon to the life and culture of the Coast Salish.

Successful Journey. Photo: Ted Topping

Along the wall of the walkway, a long series of storytelling panels made of painted cedar and copper tells more of the story of the Salish and of all the peoples of the West Coast. The human figures in this story board have outstretched arms in a gesture of welcome to all visitors. Called Human Spirit, the sculpture is one of many significant pieces in Vancouver by renowned Coast Salish artist, Susan Point.

Have you spotted any other cool outdoor art in Vancouver or other cities that you think deserves to be featured? Let us know in the comments!

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