Artist John McKinnon’s “In the Spirit” sculpture will stand on city-owned land near a development in Fleetwood. (Photo: Anthem Properties/Ballard Fine Art)

Artist John McKinnon’s “In the Spirit” sculpture will stand on city-owned land near a development in Fleetwood. (Photo: Anthem Properties/Ballard Fine Art)

PUBLIC ART

Marble bears to ‘dance’ on Surrey street in developer-funded $200K sculpture

‘In the Spirit’ sculpture will be installed near Eaglequest golf course

A developer will spend more than $200,000 to install a white-marble sculpture of three “dancing bears” on city-owned land near the company’s new Fleetwood-area townhouses.

Anthem Properties is building the Wood & Water development adjacent to the redesigned Eaglequest Coyote Creek golf course, in the 7700-block of 152nd Street.

In a public art contribution mandated by city hall, the company has elected to install “In the Spirit,” carved by B.C.-based artist John McKinnon, on what’s considered a “high-profile” location near a roundabout on 77th Avenue/Sitka Drive.

The agreement is detailed in a report OK’d by Surrey city council on Monday, Oct. 19.

The total artwork value is $200,000, which includes costs to commission and install it, plus $25,000 for maintenance. “The implementation of the artwork and its installation does not require any City funding,” the report notes.

Such deals are processed through Surrey’s Private Development Public Art Program, which gives developers the option to provide money to the city’s public art reserve, or commission artwork for installation.

The sculptured bears are each 2.6 metres high and weigh close to 3,000 kilograms. The artist’s inspiration is, in part, Bear Creek, which runs through the development.

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In an artist statement, McKinnon says his objective is “to create a space where people can come to and re-energize themselves, a place where they can relax, have fun and enjoy a link between the formal structure of the modern world and nature.”

Ballard Fine Art helped Anthem Properties commission the sculpture, due for installation in early 2022, according to the council report.

The development will include 265 townhomes and duplexes, a four-storey rental apartment, amenity building, daycare and retail space. It was approved by Surrey city council in February 2018, following a public hearing that lasted close to eight hours.

• RELATED STORY, from 2016: Surrey gets serious about public art.

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