containR Benches | Not the expression we expected!

Oh public space….It happens. Sometimes the most amazing, heartwarming, inspiring things happen at containR. And at other times, folks express in ways we had not hoped.

A few weeks ago  we were saddened to find two of our brand new public benches - smashed. These benches were built by community members and funded through an activate YYC grant. We have thrown out one, and have jerry-rig fixed the other. The third and fourth are still glorious.

Art in public space can be both frustrating and rewarding.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with Candy Chang. Candy is the amazing artist and mastermind behind the Before I Die walls.  She shares her inspirational insights and the healing power of participatory public art to help overcome personal and community challenges. Candy’s art invites neighbors to share their hopes and engage in collaborative action. containR loves Candy.

Seeking guidance, I asked her “What do you do and how do you feel after someone vandalizes, destroys or expresses on your public works, in a way you had not intended?”. She told me that she hoped that the art provided an outlet for people. That even a negative response is a response, and that hopefully the action frees something in the spirit of the person.

Within this in mind…To the individuals who smashed the benches, we hope that it helped calm the turmoil you feel, and brought resolution to your pain, in a city that we know is not always fair, and not always kind. Healing can happen through art & community. Be well. Know that the containR art park still welcomes you. Hopefully with a different kind of expression next time.  As the Rolling Stones sang… You don’t always get what you want…You get what you need.

Thanks to everyone who helped build the benches and to all the people that continue to enjoy, connect, and use them. For those at containR, or in the neighbourhood - please be stewards for the site, and encourage the best from the folks that use the containR Art Park.

Nicole Mion