Updates from Culture & Events

City of Nanaimo // JUNE 2022

Image: Examples of projects by artists in the Temporary Public Art Program
top left to bottom right: Victoria Drakeford, The Porthole, 2016, Carl Sean MacMahon, Breaching Orca, 2011, Joël A. Prevost, Name Your Dog!, 2020, Peter Achurch, Seabed, 2020

2023 Call to Artists for Temporary Public Art

The Temporary Public Art Program offers artists of diverse backgrounds and skillsets the opportunity to create artwork for public spaces in Nanaimo. Artists can propose artworks that vary in scale, scope, and medium, including temporary sculptural installations, social practice and community engaged artist projects and artwork that is integrated into landscape, architecture or civic infrastructure.

The Temporary Public Art Program supports artists in the creation of new works, by providing necessary resources and staff support through the course of project development and realization.

Submission Deadline: July 15 2022
Public Information Session, by Zoom: June 22, 6:30pm


More about Temporary Public Art

Three Questions with Artist Jesse Gray

The evolution of the project 'Chimes for the South End'
will take reclaimed plastics and turn them into a set of chimes.

Image: Materials for Chimes for the South End, 2022, by Jesse Gray, in progress.

One of the projects selected for the Temporary Public Art program in 2022 is Chimes for the South End by Nanaimo-based artist Jesse Gray. The project in development takes reclaimed plastics from the streets and parks of the South End neighbourhood, cleans them up to turn them into raw materials for a new artwork. At the end of the process, the plastic will be transformed into a set of bronze chimes, to be installed in Deverill Square GYRO Park. We asked the artist to offer a bit of insight into this work in progress:

How long have you been working with reclaimed plastics?

I started collecting trash from beaches when we moved here in 2014. Since then I’ve developed several related projects using discarded plastic waste as models for lost wax casting. In one project I cast bronze replicas of everyday garbage (bottle lids, cigarillo butts, straws, bread tags etc) and placed them back on the beach for people to find, and in a project ongoing since 2017 I have been making modernist-style jewellery out of plastic pieces cast in bronze and silver. In 2020 I had a solo exhibition in Vancouver that included bronze garbage pieces for visitors to take home with them, as well as a series of small figurative sculptures I built with wax and plastic scraps and then cast in bronze.

You have a material practice.  Could you tell me about how your work gets built over time?

My work is very, very slow moving! Most of my work is creating bigger things out of innumerable small things, and there is a lot of hand-labour involved in all stages of the work from collecting to sorting to assembling to casting and finishing. The work gets made bit by bit over a long period of time, and I almost always just sit with a material, organizing and sorting it, holding it in my hands, and researching its history, cultural uses, production & distribution methods, etc. I’m interested in a material's social history & context and my works sort of coalesce around all these inquiries.

Many of my projects have started by me just noticing a certain material, usually while walking around. I didn’t start out to work with beach plastic, I was picking it up to get it off the beach since I was there anyway, and disposing of it securely elsewhere. But just the act of picking things up and carrying them meant I ended up examining them more closely, observing which pieces I seemed to find every time I went (Starbucks splash sticks, and cigarette butts, looking at you!), and I guess I’m just drawn to the small and overlooked generally, and much of my work deals with waste or trash of one kind or another.

What made you want to work on a project in the South End?

We’ve lived in the South End since 2015 and it’s a gem, there is such a strong sense of community here. I’m happier here than anywhere I’ve ever lived, so I guess this is like a love letter to my neighbourhood.


Image: FLOW: STORM manhole cover project by Ay Lelum, design by Joel Good


New from the Urban Design Roster in 2022, we are pleased to share a design for City of Nanaimo manhole covers which features the work of Ay Lelum, House of Good Design, with further artworks in this project to follow. With designs drawn by Joel Good, manhole covers will go into circulation indicating waste water, drinking water, and storm water usage. Once in production, the covers and will appear at locations all across Nanaimo.

This project was initiated as a partnership between Culture and Engineering & Public Works, as a means of infusing creativity into everyday experiences of civic infrastructure. The selection of work by Ay Lelum roots the work in the local, and respects the place of Nanaimo as the traditional and ancestral territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

Now in the final stages of design, the new manholes will begin hitting the streets in late 2023.

About Ay Lelum

Ay Lelum is a second generation Coast Salish Design House from Nanaimo. Run by sisters Aunalee and Sophia Good, the group designs and produces clothing and fabric patterns featuring Traditional Coast Salish Art by William Good and W. Joel Good of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

About the Urban Design Roster

Recognizing that there are many ways to create vibrant and welcoming community spaces, the Urban Design Roster connects artists and designers in the City of Nanaimo with various civic departments. The program builds on the existing creative responses to civic planning and design in Nanaimo, and is intended to integrate creative work into City infrastructure needs. Many areas of the City maintain necessary infrastructure that may be enhanced by artistic contributions and urban design.


More about the Urban Design Roster

Concerts in the Park

Summer 2022 is getting festive! We have had a blast welcoming you back into civic parks with the Concerts in the Park series. Coming up in our programs, in June and July:

Ken & Greg
Tuesday June 14, 6pm to 7pm
Diver Lake Park

Ken & Greg play a lively instrumental mix of bluegrass, country, and old-time string band music. Friends for over 40 years, they met while working in professional theatre in Winnipeg in the late 1970s. Their careers took them to different ends of the country, but they reunited when they retired to the mid-island a few years ago. They are the “house band” at the Wild Culture Bakery in Qualicum Beach, where they can be seen most Wednesday and Friday afternoons – weather depending! A recent patron described their music as “just fun”.

WaterStone Trio
Tuesday July 5, 6pm to 7pm
Piper’s Lagoon Park

WaterStone Trio is Laura Braun (lead vocalist/percussion), Jim Lewis (bass and vocals) and Marty Douglas (guitars, harmonica and vocals), an exciting new trio that will take you on a memorable journey through a multitude of musical genres. Laura Braun's beautifully soulful lead vocals delight audiences with songs from Bonnie Raitt, Adele, Sue Medley, Sara Bareilles to K.D. Lang and Eva Cassidy. Jim Lewis brings a wealth of experience and a long list of songs, along with his professional, seasoned bass work and harmonies to each WaterStone performance. Marty Douglas provides dynamic guitar, harmonica, and vocals to round out WaterStone's performances with some folk, blues, rock and country songs.

Sol Azul
Wednesday July 6, 6pm to 7pm
Kin Park @ Departure Bay

The New Latin music sensation, Sol Azul,will be performing this Summer 2022 in Nanaimo, supporting her newly released album "Latin Muza". Sol Azul's music is an innovative mix of latin pop, electronic and new age, carrying a range of influences from artists such as Bjork and Cocteau Twins, all the way to Sade and Bebel Gilberto, mixing captivating soundscapes and sonic textures with latin sounds, with underlying seductive and dreamy melodies. Her music is an expression of self-discovery while delicately navigating through inner emotions, romance and love. Sol Azul Latin Muza, is a dynamic vocalist, composer and two-time Independent Music Award (IMA) winner that has worked with some of Chile's most prestigious musicians, actively contributing to breathe life into the Chilean and Latin American music scenes for the past 20 years. After several successful tours around Europe, Sol Azul made her North American debut opening for Suzanne Vega in 2010.

Also, be sure to mark your calendars for...

Buwa, Ty Koch & Josh Halloway
Wednesday July 13, 7pm to 8:30pm
McGregor Park

An evening of Soul, Blues and Pop! Joshua Holloway is mixing his passions for theatre, jazz, and pop in a high-octane creative flurry; Ty Koch will surprise you with his ability to sing a classical song and the blues and Buwa is an exciting contemporary soul artist, with pop and R&B sensibilities and a penchant for storytelling.

Les Amis Musicale
Organized with Vancouver Island Symphony
Wednesday July 20, 7pm to 8pm
McGregor Park

A delightful, lighthearted summer concert performed by Symphony friends with music by Beethoven, Devienne, Roussel, and more… Performances by VIS musicians, Emily Nagelbach, Guyonne le Louarn and Alexander Lee with Messo Soprano, Erin Lawson.


More about Concerts in the Park

Contact Us


With respect & gratitude, we acknowledge that our work is carried out on the
territory of the Snuneymuxw people

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