You may have noticed over the last two months new art installations appearing in your own neighborhood and in other areas throughout Vancouver and Richmond. While some may be part of other projects currently ramping up for February 2010 many are a part of Vancouver Biennale 2009 – 2011 which officially starts September 29th, 2009. Installation began on July 15 including 32 sculptures made by 29 artists from 6 continents installed throughout 12 neighborhoods along beaches, bike and walking paths, parks and urban plazas. The sculptures will be on display until June 2011. So far there are two fairly popular works in our neighborhood, ‘Meeting’ and ‘Pillows’. ‘Meeting’ is located in Cardero Park right beside the Westin Bayshore. The red squatting figures have incredible facial details and one looks as if to be starting the meeting. There are always people squatting beside one of the figures trying to get their photo just right. ‘Pillows’ is located in Harbour Green Park close to the stairway up to the Convention Center. The pillows look soft enough to sit on, and while they actually are not (I tried), they are occupied on many occasions as I walk by.

Do not be surprised to see interest in the new art increase next week as the official launch will take place until October 4th with major International, national and regional media from newspapers, television and magazines invited to participate in a two-day event which will include a bicycle tour of the installations, official unveiling ceremonies and artist interviews. There are also launch events open to the public including a talk by Charles Jencks, the renowned theorist, landscape architect and designer which will take place on October 1st at 7:30 pm at SFU Harbour Center. Admission is free but pre registration is required at http://www.sfu.ca/cstudies.

For those who want to get out to see the art. Great Rides will be hosting a combination bike ride and cultural experience to see the sculptures on October 4th. There will be a 13 km and a 36 km route that will begin at Vanier Park and continue to Gastown, through Vancouver’s West End and along the Seawall around False Creek and back to Vanier Park. The long route will extend to VanDusen Gardens and Queen Elizabeth Park before going back down to False Creek. Take advantage of on-site bike mechanics, pick up a map booklet, and enjoy refreshments and live entertainment along the route–and a vegetarian feast at the finish line! The ride fee is $15 in advance or $20 on the day. Visit greatrides.ca for more information.

While the new Biennale is about to begin, there are still a few lasting legacies from Vancouver Biennial 2005 – 2007 including one of my favorites, the King and Queen, in Habour Green Park. It is great to walk by every day and still see children climbing up the seats and people posing for photos all the time. While this may not have been the intent of the Romanian born artist, Sorel Etrog, who now lives in Toronto, it is great to see happy people interacting with all of the great art that can be found around the city.