Landscape artist Illarion Gallant with his Bullrushes art installation. He loaned the piece located on Beach Drive to Oak Bay for the summer.

Eye on art in Oak Bay

Sculptures on loan to Oak Bay for the summer as the community dips its toes into the public art pool

Bullrushes stand strong, appearing only slightly out of place, catching the light on Beach Drive.

It’s the vision of artist Illarion Gallant, who loaned the sculpture to Oak Bay for the summer as the community dips its toes into the public art pool.

Oak Bay’s arts laureate Barbara Adams conjured up the pilot project this summer that will include three sculptures, three pianos and a Gracepoint remnant, all placed throughout the community to introduce residents to the joy of public art.

“It’s her vision, and she’s really taken the concept of public art and made it a reality for the summer to show the community it’s possible,” said Janet Barclay manager of recreation program services for Oak Bay.

The three artworks including Bullrushes are on loan for the summer by the artists themselves.

Bullrushes is on Beach Drive at the foot of Landsdowne Road; municipal hall lawn will hold Nathan Scott sculptures and Chris Paul will install a piece near the Oak Bay Marina.


Adams’ hope is for each of those sites to become art spaces, part of her overall

goal to see 25 permanent art installations in Oak Bay.


“You could see someone painting here, or singing an aria,” she said. “This is a good spot for an art space.”

Her vision includes five art spaces linked by 20 standalone pieces.

“It draws attention to it … people can see what’s possible,” Gallant said.


“It provides a cycling tour, a walking tour. It provides an anchor in Oak Bay for people to do a tour of Oak Bay,” she added.


The fourth work is a piece of memorabilia from the 10-part television drama Gracepoint that finished filming in Oak Bay this spring.

“We were given loan of the ‘Gracepoint’ sign and they’re hoping to put it down by Turkey Head for the two months,” said Barclay. “We think it would be just a fun community thing to have.”

Nathan Scott’s bronze sculptures of Piper (his dog but you will have to search for her) and The Landing (in a more obvious location) went up near municipal hall last Thursday afternoon, just in time for the public Canada Day celebration Friday.

“Not everybody can afford their own sculpture. It’s enjoyable to see how people enjoy art,” said Scott. “It’s better than them sitting in my studio.”

The official opening starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 5 in Entrance Park at the corner of Oak Bay Avenue and Foul Bay Road.

The arts laureate’s budget is funded through $2,500 from the community initiatives committee, $2,500 from the Oak Bay business improvement association and $2,500 from Oak Bay Tourism.


“They’ve all put into the pot to make this happen,” Barclay said.



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