Judy Villeneuve

Councillor, City of Surrey



by Virginia Gillespie


       Heritage related articles            








Photo: Judy Villeneuve by Myungsook Lee.


With the adoption of a public art policy in 1998, Surrey opened the way for public participation in art and community building. Judy Villeneuve, Surrey City Councillor and Liaison with the Public Art Advisory Committee says, ¡°Public Art in Surrey is young when compared with other cities because we are a young city that is just developing its artistic infrastructure.¡±

Not only is Surrey one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, but it is also one of the largest geographically with diverse populations. ¡°People who move here want to identify more with their own communities.  We have concentrated on projects through capital grant programs that build and support projects that detail the history of the area and the people who live there. During the process, participants come together to reflect both on what community was, and also envision what it can be.¡±

The Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) is arms length from Council.  City Staff on the committee work with an interdepartmental team from engineering and parks involved in the construction and include the artists as soon as possible. There are three components: New Construction Projects, Community Matching Art Projects and Cultural Community Group Initiatives.

Primary funding comes from the City where 1.25% of new construction city capital projects is allocated to the Public Art Program. ¡°We are basically relying on City funding. Now we want to find other contributors like the development industry that benefits from improved surroundings. Another example is what the Korean community did with Poetry Rock in Bear Creek Park. They were able to express their culture through art and reach out to the wider community.  We also encourage donations from artists of pieces they want displayed publicly outdoors.¡±

Surrey¡¯s 2008 designation as a Cultural Capital of Canada brought federal funding that helped build six new public art projects including Lingua Aqua. ¡°When we expand the funding base we can create more substantial projects that people can readily identify as both tourist attractions and markings of sustainable community. The City will benefit from a pool of funds to develop monumental pieces that are actually landmarks that then generate interest for what else is here. Until you have that, it is not easy to generate excitement about a public art program.¡±

One exciting example is the Urban Screen initiated during the 2010 Olympics where an entire wall projects digital images that can be seen from the sky train. ¡°They are making it grandiose and it supports the digital and media art specialization that the Surrey Art Centre is renowned for.¡±

¡°People are a little scared of visual art and it takes confidence to discover what you like and what you are willing to pay for. Similarly, a lot of people struggle with public art.Most think of it as statues and fountains. Public Art is supposed to generate a sense of reaction, so people can try and understand something differently.¡±




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DIVERSE 5th Issue

We are pleased to announce that DIVERSE 5th issue, Summer 2011 has been released.  

12 Diversity in Canadian Workplaces What are the obstacles to a better form of ¡°diversity¡± in the workplace?

- Open Door Group

- BC Workplace Diversity Inclusion Awards

6 BC¡¯s Diversity through 30 portraits



2 ThePower of Exchange A Historic Collaboration between Germany¡¯s

Premiere Art Collections and Canada¡¯s First Nations

28 Ezra Kwizera  Born in Uganda to Rwandese refugee parents, Canadian Musician and genocide  survivor speaks on the art of  forgiveness and of adapting to Canadian culture

42 Dana Claxton  

The Mustang Suite: Questioning mobility, freedom and autonomy 


24 Gung Haggis Fat Choy in Vancouver, BC: The Diversity of Canada      

38 Denise Brillon Breaking barriers in the fashion world



32 Pysanky¡¯s Resurgence

Joan Brander¡¯s contribution to the renaissance in traditional

Ukrainian egg art


10 Publisher¡¯s Note

27 Benefits of being a bilingual writer

31 Canadians come in all differences



35 News Briefs on Multiculturalism

36 Publisher¡¯s Picks


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    DIVERSE......"Each person is born into a unique culture. All deserve respect.¡±