Riley Park’s new bandstand

Thank you, City of Calgary Parks Department

Water for Riley has enjoyed a productive relationship with staff of the City of Calgary Parks Department. From the beginning of the project, Councillor Farrell, Ron Buchan and Michelle Reid understood the vision to bring a student-designed, artistic, functional drinking fountain to Riley Park.

W4R has accomplished so much and it wouldn’t have happened without their support.

Michelle Reid, Councillor Druh Farrell, and Ron Buchan meet with Michelle Vincent, lead W4R volunteer.

Coming soon to Riley Park, again courtesy of Parks Department

For years, the only remnant of the prior bandstand was its concrete footprint, like a dinosaur print preserved in clay.

March, 2017, all that remained of the bandstand in Riley Park was this concrete pad.

Now, the bandstand rises again

April, 2018

A new permanent bandstand on the concrete pad replaces one that Nature destroyed.

Located near the new children’s playground, the bandstand will provide shelter and entertainment. This cluster of activities sorely needs drinking water. The drinking fountain will provide that water to thirsty entertainers and their audiences.

With the playground, activities and the wading pool drawing children and families to Riley Park, a drinking fountain is ever more important. Fortunately, with the help of W4R’s wonderful partners and sponsors, the drinking fountain also draws ever nearer in time.

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 organizer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

 

How a great community grows

Why are Water for Riley (W4R) volunteers working so hard to bring a drinking fountain to Riley Park?

Simple answer: Hillhurst Sunnyside (HS) is a terrific community, in every sense of the word community. While the community grows in population, with new developments and densification, it isn’t adding services. W4R aims to add one service to Riley Park, to accommodate the growth in HS residents.

As a member of the Federation of Calgary Communities, our HS community, especially the volunteers, live the “resident-led solutions” motto. W4R is a totally resident led effort.

W4R volunteers too often let social media slide, spending valuable hours on guiding the fabrication of the drinking fountain, dealing with finances, interpreting contract language, and fundraising. Social media fell to the bottom of the to-do list.

Thanks to W4R’s relationship with HSCA, we gratefully piggy back on HSCA social media to have this reach:
HSCA Website Page Views: 6734
Facebook Likes: 1718 increased 20
Twitter Followers: 3589 increased 25
Instagram Followers: 857 increased 25
Newsletter Subscribers: 1936 decreased 7

Social media is important for staying connected to the people who will benefit from the drinking fountain. Here are some interesting statistics about how to connect:

What can you do? Join a local community association for the connections and the other benefits, like discounts at local businesses, taking programs, and making new friends. Better yet – donate to W4R.

Be part of Calgary’s public art legacy;
for Riley Park, for you, and for the future.

Donate to make this vision a reality at the Parks Foundation Calgary. 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 volunteer. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

To all donors, supporters, partners and friends, thank you from the volunteers of Water for Riley.

 

Autumn fun Riley Park

The weather was so spectacular today, Riley Park was a major attraction.

Here’s a highlight list of uses observed in the brief duration of our dog walk:

  • Quidditch practice – Calgary Kelpies
  • Dog walkers
  • Full children’s playground
  • Acrobatic team practice
  • Community picnic
  • Cricket game
  • Music group
  • Walkers
  • Floral enthusiasts
  • Runners
  • Sunbathers
  • Readers
  • Bikers
  • Frisbee
  • Soccer

All those active people of all ages and ethnicities, and no public water available – YET.

Quidditch Calgary, Team Kelpies
Cricket practice in the Riley Park “bull pen”
University of Calgary soccer team practice in Riley Park’s common area
Last blooms of Riley Park

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 organizer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

 

Riley Park to have public art

While the Water for Riley volunteer committee took summer vacation, Calgary’s public art policy stayed controversial. W4R followed the debate because the drinking fountain in Riley Park will be public art.

How to recognize public art

The simple test for deciding what is public art: did an artist create it? The drinking fountain is art because an artist designed it. It’ll be in a public space. Ergo; it’s public art.

The unique aspect of Water for Riley is that its designer is a student artist. Michelle Lazo was in her first year at ACAD when she submitted her winning design, Reflecting Blooms. She’s an emerging artist, with many successes already on her resume.

The artist had a vision

Michelle has a special connection to Riley Park, which the jury didn’t know when it selected her design. Michelle, in her acceptance speech, told the crowd that her father worked for Calgary’s Parks Department. “Dad worked there. Now my thumbprint will be there too.”

She grew up going to Riley Park and loved the flowers that inspired her design. She said all the experiences came together, and she felt like she’d come full circle.

“The idea of Reflecting Blooms is to create an area in Riley Park that provides not only a hydrating space but also to engage a whimsical interaction with the sculptures.  The major inspiration for the fountain derived from the beautiful floral beds of Senator Patrick Burns Rock Garden.”

Thanks to Dana for sharing this inspiration in her photos.

Floral gardens in Riley Park. Photo credit Dana, CalgaryPlaygroundReview.com
Floral gardens Senator Patrick Burns garden. Photo credit Dana, CalgaryPlaygroundReview.com

Taste in art is subjective

As a community-based, volunteer driven project, W4R welcomes opinions about the drinking fountain’s design. Some visitors to Riley Park will appreciate and love the winning design, and, obviously, some people won’t. We look forward to being part of the larger civic discussion.

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 organizer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

Meanwhile, experts on public art comment on the controversy and one such opinion is reproduced below:

City can be a leader in investing in the arts
CALGARY HERALD
Published on: September 11, 2017

Calgary is becoming a world-class city, and art has to be part of our evolution, writes Aritha van Herk:

A part of me understands the perplexity of political candidates confronted with debates about culture, the arts, and how to value creative life here in Calgary. They are running for office, and they think about appealing to voters.

What does the average voter want? Employment, shelter, food, education. A safe city. A welcoming city. A city that can be called home, for home is where our loyalties lie. And in that equation, the arts might seem insignificant.

But there is the crux of Calgary’s future. In our current situation, we must find a way to make our home —this city — a magnet. We need people to come here, bringing their entrepreneurial talent, their intellectual wealth and their investment dollars, or we won’t get out of this rut fast.

Calgary is becoming a world-class city, and art has to be part of our evolution. We have a chance to woo the very best in the world, but we have to offer the best. If we are going to become a city where people choose to stay, enhancing our overall wealth, this is the moment to disrupt our old way of thinking, and step forward, with culture as our lodestone.

Art and culture are compasses of change, measurements of evolving economies and identities. Calgary’s character is historically both risk taking and resilient. As companies and talent adapt and innovate in these challenging times, they look to what a city can offer to collaborate with their own entrepreneurial creativity. With all that we have learned, we are positioned to become a city that leads.

Which is where culture and the arts come in. Why do we need the arts? Because they are the lifeblood of a city’s identity, the quintessential element that makes a place distinctive, a destination, a home. And we have a chance, right now, in these turbulent times, to attract the best and the brightest to bring their optimum talent, advantageous ideas and inventive designs.

Calgary is not now perceived as a competitive creative centre, which is a significant barrier to realizing our goals of a diversified and resilient economy. We must become known as a place of creative ferment, for citizens who encounter the vibrations of creative activity are better able to embrace challenge and change.

The arts contribute to our economy, often invisibly, but palpably. Every dollar invested in the arts returns almost double that amount directly and almost triple in tourism benefits. In Calgary, creative industries employ more than 50,000 citizens, and each year, more than 4,000 students in creative areas graduate with degrees from our world-class institutions.

Creativity is good; we can all agree on that. But a creative city is more than lip service. We need a bold vision for Calgary’s creative future, one that enables Calgary’s artists and arts organizations to lead nationally — and to generate the local jobs needed to retain and attract artistic talent.

Most galling of all is the fact that Edmonton’s arts grants per capita are twice as much as ours.

City hall has faltered in its chance to support the arts appropriately. But that can change: an annual investment equivalent to 0.7 per cent of the city’s budget will allow Calgary to position itself as a national leader in arts investment.

The job of artists is to create. The job of politicians is to govern. The two might seem far apart, but they have the same goal: to make this city a place where the best and the brightest come and stay.

In the upcoming civic election, voters need to remember that, and support candidates who plan to invest in our city’s future, and who know that the arts and culture are more than decoration.

Aritha van Herk is writing on behalf of Creative Calgary.

 

When art goes to the dogs

While only one bloom of the Reflecting Blooms drinking fountain is for pets, the article below lets Calgary’s animal lovers know they are not alone. New York shares the love.

How appropriate that the Basset Hound’s name is Riley!

WHEN ART GOES TO THE DOGS

Calgary Herald
Aug 19, 2017

New York City ex­hibit tar­gets ca­nines
FRANK ELTMAN

Riley, a basset hound, exits Noah Scalin’s The Hand That Feeds. There weren’t any pictures of dogs playing poker at DoGUMENTA

A recent three-day art exhibition for dogs attracted hundreds of canines to a marina in Lower Manhattan, where hounds and terriers feasted their eyes, and in some cases their mouths, on nearly a dozen masterpieces created expressly for them.

The idea was the brainchild of former Washington Post art critic Jessica Dawson, who says she was inspired by her rescue dog Rocky, a tiny morkie ( Yorkie-Maltese mix), who regularly joins her at exhibits of the human variety.

“When Rocky accompanied me on my gallery visits, I noticed he was having a much better time than I was,” said Dawson, who moved to New York four years ago. “He was not reading the New York Times reviews, he was not reading the artists’ resumés, and so I said he has something to teach me about looking. All dogs have something to teach us about looking at contemporary art and being with it.”

Organizers of the exhibit — which takes its name from Documenta, held every five years in Kassel, Germany — and put on by Arts at Brookfield, staggered the arrival times of the dogs to keep things orderly.

“I think she’s enjoying it,” said Lorraine Gates, who attended with her tiny Japanese chin, Maltese and Papillon mix. “I love this idea. I think it’s really wonderful.”

The 10 works of art at the outdoor exhibit were all strategically placed at eye level for the canines. One featured an elaborate display of dog biscuits and other treats that attendees were invited to munch on.

At another exhibit, four-legged art critics were lifting their hind legs and “expressing” themselves on a work called Fountain. As the dogs left their marks, scribbles of blue streaks were left behind on the white blocks.

Dawson said Rocky visited several times.

Susan Godwin and her morkie, Tasha, soaked up the art vibes.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Godwin said. “You can go to museums all over New York and you can never bring your dog.”

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You can go to museums all over New York and you can never bring your dog.

If New York can do it, so can Calgary.

Be part of it;
a beautiful public drinking fountain,
for Riley Park, for you and as a legacy 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 organizer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

Nice drinking fountain design; will it work?

The Calgary Foundation Neighbours Grant

When Water for Riley (W4R) was just an idea without a name, two community members met with Julie Black, The Calgary Foundation’s fantastic Citizen Engagement Associate. From the start, Julie and The Calgary Foundation (TCF) provided financial support as well as excellent advice, encouragement, and other opportunities.

Julie Black and Deborah Sword, volunteer Project Manager of W4R.

Once again, we are excited and delighted to announce that TCF has awarded us a Neighbours Grant to fund the building of the drinking fountain’s prototype. W4R and the fundraising committee want to shout out our gratitude.

W4R is proud to partner with and accept support from The Calgary Foundation.

To find out how Reflecting Blooms works we’ll build it

Taking risks is how W4R achieved the success it’s had so far. Bring on the next challenge. With a winning design and a fundraising plan, we’ve retained a fabricator and mechanical engineer.

W4R relies on community volunteers. The next steps will rely on professionals. We are very pleased that the expert firms we’re working with have committed to contain costs, and to give us fixed, reasonable prices to move ahead in increments, as funds are available.

Next step is the design build

Design–build is a method to deliver a project.

“Design-build is intended to be a highly collaborative, fully integrated process that is built on trust, mutual respect, teamwork, innovation and creative problem solving. Design-build unleashes the power of team to deliver projects faster, better and for optimum cost – best value for the money, time and e ort invested. Owners find that when design-build is done right, their level of engagement with the entire team is more meaningful than is experienced with other delivery methods.” https://www.dbia.org

Be part of it;
a beautiful public drinking fountain,
for Riley Park, for you and as a legacy 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 organizer, fundraiser, donor, sponsor, or any other role. Call 403 862 1923 and leave your contact information.

 

Bow to Bluff, an ecosystem approach to nature

Riley Park is part of an ecosystem

In our mostly paved, urban landscape, it’s easy to forget the role of ecosystems in keeping us healthy. In nature, nothing exists in isolation. The health of one part of the ecosystem affects the health of all. On May 27, 2017, you can be part of an historic effort to pull fragmented pieces of land into a more useable, healthy space.

Bow to Bluff has an ecosystem perspective

Citizens saw an opportunity to transform fragmented bits of land leftover from Ctrain construction. The Ctrain tracks disrupt the McHugh Bluff, and chop up 9A Street N.W. streetscapes between SAIT/ACAD/Jubilee Station to Sunnyside Station, and to the Bow River. The citizens’ vision is to turn those neglected parcels and current back alley trails into a walkable, terrific public space.

Leftover bits of 9A St.N.W. after Ctrain construction can be usable public space.

The City of Calgary began working with the citizen group on the Bow (River) to (McHugh) Bluff initiative. Where now are tiny, weed and garbage-filled bits of land, imagine wondrous public spaces from the river, across Memorial Drive, past the Ctrain station, along the elevated tracks, to the top of the bluff.

Join us. Water for Riley will be there.

27 May, 2017, enjoy Kensington, Riley Park, and launch Bow to Bluff.

Water for Riley sits at the base of the McHugh Bluff. The Bow to Bluff initiative will help restore natural health to the ecosystem in which Riley Park is nestled.

Water for Riley works with Parks Foundation Calgary (parksfdn.com) and issues tax receipts for all donations over $10.00. Call 403 862 1923 for more information

 

Continuity and change

Water for Riley (W4R) has many moving pieces

How W4R works partly explains our successes so far. A few members of the organizing committee have been involved from the start. Other people have contributed skill and time as tasks required. W4R has been blessed with the right people offering the right skills at the right time.

On 27 April 2017, Jen Dobbin of The Dobbin Group met with Michelle Vincent and Natalie Back, stalwart W4R volunteers.

The Snowball Methodology

The method is called the Snowball. Like a small ball of snow rolling downhill that collects more snow as it gathers speed, we collect and network with people as we move forward. One person leads to more people. At every meeting W4R volunteers ask, for example:
who else should we talk to?
what contacts do you have that might introduce us?
when can we meet with those others?
where should we go for those connections?

We have a core committee that holds the vision and provides continuity. Fresh ideas and energy come from a cast of changing volunteers who share the vision and offer their time as they have some available.

Community minded people share contacts

Michelle and Annie MacInnis, Executive Director of Kensington Business Revitalization Zone (BRZ), met to discuss mutual interests on 10 May, 2017.

We’re very grateful for these cross-fertilizing, idea-sharing meetings. It’s like shortcuts on a long journey; we learn from their wisdom and experience so we don’t have to build a road they’ve already walked.

 You can join the snowball effect, even in Springtime

Follow this Water for Riley blog and on Twitter @waterforriley.

Please contribute to Riley Park’s beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and – at the instructions to seller page – specify that your contribution is for Water for Riley.

To volunteer call 403 862 1923.

 

Water for Riley presented at Annual General Meeting

Speaking to the bosses in public

Water for Riley has many bosses. At the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 25, most of those bosses were in the room.

Water for Riley presented its successes to date at the HSCA Annual General Meeting
Lisa Chong, Community Planning Coordinator, arranged Water for Riley display at AGM

The Chair of the HSCA Board of Directors, the Executive Director, the Chair of the Community Planning Committee, Councillor Druh Farrell, and the real bosses – residents and members of the community – expressed their approval of the winning design, congratulated student designer, Michelle Lazo, and encouraged the W4R organizing committee to keep going.

HSCA members and Board discussed community sustainability and other important issues

Water for Riley, as a project, fits in the goals and mission of the HSCA and community residents. The drinking fountain aims to achieve the shared community goals of sustainability and accessibility.

Councillor Druh Farrell, centre of front row, spoke about accessibility, development and good planning for growth.

 To stay in touch and receive updates

Follow this Water for Riley blog and on Twitter @waterforriley.

Please contribute to Riley Park’s beautiful drinking fountain project through the Parks Foundation and – at the instructions to seller page – specify that your contribution is for Water for Riley.

To volunteer call 403 862 1923.

 

Water for Riley expands its network

Bureaucracy can be confusing. Necessary and confusing.

The complexity of Water for Riley (W4R) is that it involves multiple municipal departments, such as Public Art, Heritage, Parks, Water Services, and Roads, and our elected City Councillor. W4R has been blessed with the quality of civic employees who have joined the W4R network. The W4R team includes competent and helpful City of Calgary staff.

Today, April 6, W4R volunteers met with another department. Not only did it enlarge W4R’s network of helpful City employees, the volunteers got a tour of the amazing Gold LEED building that sets a high standard of environmental sustainability in Calgary.

Amy Ross, Water Resources, and Michelle Vincent, W4R lead volunteer.

While on the tour, the art team gave an answer to the question: is the drinking fountain for Riley Park an art project or a functional project? “It sits in different worlds at the same time,” said Tristan Surtees. That answer sounds right.

Art team, Water Services

Later, the W4R volunteers changed roles to meet with the Calgary Foundation coach for Pitch Night. Priscilla Ng, Advisor, Donations, Royal Bank of Canada, gave so many great tips for how to pitch W4R to the voting audience on April 19. Between now and the pitch, W4R will be in overdrive in preparation and getting votes.

Priscilla Ng and Michelle Vincent enjoy Riley Park while discussing tips about pitching Water for Riley.
Priscilla is coach extraordinaire.

Call 403 862 1923 to get involved as another W4R volunteer. Click the link to donate to The Parks Foundation Calgary, and designate your gift to The Water for Riley Project. Tax receipts are issued.