Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy; for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.
Donate to make this vision become reality. At the instructions to seller page, specify that your support is for Water for Riley project. The Parks Foundation issues tax receipts for donations greater than $10.00.
We invite everyone to participate as a volunteer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.
Not often are meetings described as “great” but Water for Riley volunteers agreed. That was a great meeting on March 9, 2017.
The coordination team gathered to discuss how to build and install the drinking fountain, Reflecting Blooms.
Setting the tone, Michelle Reid summarized Riley Park’s importance as Calgary’s best example of an historic cultural landscape.
In other words, Riley Park is very distinctly of its time, 1910 and 1920s. Riley Park would look quite different if it were a modern park. Thus, the City does not want Riley Park to look like an ordinary park. Riley Park must be distinguishable yet compatible with and subordinate to the landscape of rolling hills that mark Calgary’s natural features.
Wow, that’s a demanding framework Water for Riley must respect. Fortunately, the jury’s choice of winning design does that. As Michelle Reid concluded, ““It’s amazing that the students were so successful in designing their drinking fountains, considering how complicated intervening in historic landscapes can be.” Michelle’s comments made Water for Riley very proud of the ACAD and SAIT student designers.
With that context, the experts from IBI Group and Heavy Industries coordinated the work to be done. There’s an early phased plan to obtain approvals, create preliminary drawings, and prepare design templates. The processes to fund raise, build, and install the drinking fountain are tentatively mapped and the first round of tasks assigned.
Michelle Lazo, the winning designer, will have the opportunity to work with these wonderful experts as part of her award. Together, they will turn her designer’s concept into a reality.
To be part of this exciting project, call 403 862 1923. Help build the drinking fountain so that the future looks like history in this unique, historic, natural jewel.
Click the link and let the Parks Foundation know you want your donation to go to Water for Riley.
Water for Riley is honoured to again be part of TMC city-wide festival from April 3 to 28, 2017. Sally Truss, a founding member of Water for Riley’s organizing committee, is curating all 21 amazing ACAD and SAIT student drinking fountain designs.
The exhibit will be installed at – appropriately – the Louise Riley Branch of the Calgary Public Library. Water for Riley is proud to continue Calgary’s longstanding connection to the Riley Family.
In 1910, Ezra Riley donated the land that became Riley Park. His daughter, Margaret Louise, was a children’s librarian and author. The Louise Riley Library is named for her.
The Louise Riley Branch is easily accessible from the Lions Park C-Train station and many Calgary Transit buses.
At the Big Reveal on 18 January, people asked what inspired the idea of Water for Riley. Here’s how the concept of a student designed drinking fountain in Riley Park originated.
In summer of 2010, a White West-highland (Westie) puppy named Trail was 11 weeks old and just adopted into a Hillhurst family.
While walking in Riley Park, Trail let it be known he was thirsty. Very, very thirsty. With typical “Westitude” (the Westie breed is famous for attitude), Trail demanded water. When he wanted something, he was as ear splitting loud as a shrieking child.
There was no water to be had anywhere in the park
Trail and his humans had to forego the rest of their walk. Partly to get water and partly because other park visitors looked at Trail as if his terrible humans were abusing him.
Volunteers for the Riley Park drinking fountain have two main tasks:
1) Coordinating selection of one drinking fountain design from 21 student submissions, and
2) Raising money to build the chosen design.
How are we doing on both tasks?
The effects have been greater than the sum of the parts. Water for Riley volunteers and partners attended ACAD and SAIT classes, ACAD and SAIT students studied Riley Park, SAIT students went to Hillhurst Elementary School, ACAD students exhibited their designs at Hillhurst Elementary School, and Hillhurst Elementary School teachers created learning modules for students to interact with the designs. The designs were displayed in five venues around the community, including at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, and This Is My City Arts Festival.
Each design held enchantment for the five skilled jury members, and they debated until reaching an organic consensus. Three shortlisted designs are now undergoing professional, technical review. Water for Riley’s jury will get expert recommendations to guide its decision of which one design will be built.
That leads to the second major task – fundraising.
Water for Riley began in a different economic climate, so the second task is not yet half accomplished. Although there’s progress there’s also less money available for unfunded priorities like a drinking fountain near the children’s playground. The volunteer committee is working hard and smart on finding funding. Stay tuned for news.
With questions. to volunteer, or give comments please call 403 862 1923 or email. All donations over $10.00 are eligible for a tax receipt through the Parks Foundation. To contribute to the project, click the button and specify you support the Water for Riley project:
Water for Riley proudly presents the ACAD and SAIT student designs in the running for the drinking fountain design challenge. They are available for viewing and comments at Blank Page Studio until April 24, 2016. Stop by and add your comments.
These photos are no substitute for seeing the whole collection in the studio space. Please visit and leave your opinions on the page beside each design. No page at Blank Page need be left blank.
And now, in no particular order, the long list of 21 student designs, before the short list is chosen
– ta dum da dum –
To participate in Water for Riley, email or call 403 862 1923. To donate through the Parks Foundation, please click the button and specify your donation is for the Water for Riley project.
Two good questions 1. Why didn’t the City of Calgary install a drinking fountain in Riley Park instead of this lengthy, volunteer-driven, Water for Riley process?
2. What makes Water for Riley’s drinking fountain costly?
Both questions came up as the 21 amazing designs shine in the exhibit at Blank Page Studio during the This Is My City Festival from April 7 to 24, 2016.
The answer to both excellent questions is similar: Water for Riley wants more than obtaining a squat concrete public drinking fountain. The jargon for our vision is cumulative impacts. A beautiful, artistic fountain was the mechanism for attaining those cumulative impacts.
Now for the long answers.
Why not a plain, simple drinking fountain? A drinking fountain in Riley Park is an unfunded priority. More jargon meaning there’s no money and won’t be money in the City of Calgary budget although Riley Park’s need for drinking water is known. If there were money for it, the drinking fountain would have one nozzle without regard to users’ disabilities, height differences, artistic merit to attract visitors, canine needs, or the other criteria the college students considered in their thoughtful designs. And no cumulative impacts:
We will have fixed costs no matter which design is selected to build: Buy the structure for $$, transport it to Riley Park for $$$, dig a trench for $$$, pour a foundation for $, install hook up to waterline for $$, cover trench for $$, and turn on the water for $. The City’s estimate for installing any fountain is $20,000.00
If we have to fundraise for a plain, simple fountain, we saw an opportunity to acquire a beautiful, student designed, drinking fountain and forge new and strengthen existing networks of relationships, establish connections among neighbouring institutions, and build community.
In the past 100+ years, Riley Park’s neighbours didn’t collaborate if they had an idea to share, a problem to solve, or an interest in common. Water for Riley wants Riley Park’s neighbours to get acquainted and build social capital together. Social capital creates trust, and trusting neighbourhoods have less crime, higher energy, more caring, and better economies.
We’ve already achieved some cumulative impacts These are quotes from our conversations with Water for Riley’s partners:
School Administrator: “We’ve always wanted to work with the colleges and never had a reason to call them.”
ACAD Administrator: “I’ve been looking for an excuse to call my counterpart at SAIT.”
Faculty member at ACAD: “My students are so excited about this opportunity to work on a real project in the community.”
Faculty member at SAIT: “The students had a bidding war for the chance to work on Water for Riley instead of the other projects we offered them.”
ACAD Student: “None of my other classmates had a chance to work with a real client and solve a real world design problem like we’ve had with Water for Riley.”
SAIT Student: “Water for Riley is a valuable part of my learning about how to apply design to the world around me.”
This Is My City Art Society partner: “Water for Riley is a true community based, volunteer driven project. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”
Students at both Colleges admitted that, until Water for Riley, they’d never wandered down the hill to see the natural jewel of an urban park at ACAD and SAIT’s feet.
The last word on cumulative impacts goes to Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association: “As the nearest neighbour to Riley Park, the HSCA is inundated with park visitors asking to use our building’s facilities. Water for Riley provides needed water, and enhances HSCA’s mandate of increased volunteerism and community engagement. HSCA had no relationship at all with ACAD or SAIT prior to this initiative. When neighbours identify projects that better our community, the whole community, present and future, becomes more resilient, adaptive and resourceful. The lessons learned through this project are transferable and trans-generational. Projects such as this demand the attention of funders, to collectively encourage and promote grassroots innovation that strengthens neighborhoods to overcome complex challenges in the future. Our employees come and go, but stories of residents turning ideas into action live on for decades. This initiative will be inspirational to many, and will serve as a roadmap for what can be accomplished through multi-partner collaborations in a community.”
2. Budget: What does Water for Riley’s fountain cost?
How much do shoes cost? It depends on design, materials, labour, etc. After our jury selects a design we’ll know. Our best guesstimate to build an artistic fountain is somewhere between $40,000.00 and $60,000.00, about double the cost of a plain fountain, not including installation costs.
We anticipate incidental costs of $7,000.00 for the design selection process, $5,000 of which is for technical expertise to review the short list of designs for feasibility, durability and affordability.
So far, we’ve had no (zero, nada) administration costs or incidentals. Everything has been donated; meeting and display spaces, lunches, photocopies, and time volunteered. Framed on Fifth donated the posters for all the exhibits. The wonderful Diana designed our fabulous logo, named Water for Riley, and constructed this website. Here is our still-expanding list of incredible partners.We’re very grateful for all, and hope this answers some questions. All questions, comments and offers to help are welcome. Email or call 403 862 1923.
To donate to the fountain project through the Parks Foundation click the button and specify your donation is for Water for Riley.