Discover role of public art in virtual summit

Internationally-celebrated artist Ken Lum kicks off a virtual public art summit with a presentation that examines the role of public art and considers the present as a “monuments moment” brought about by unprecedented changes to public life and public space by a global pandemic.

The City of Markham has teamed up with ART+PUBLIC UnLtd, a boutique public art consultancy based in Toronto, to present the summit: Becoming Public Art: Working Models & Case Studies for Art in Public. It will be held every Tuesday from October 13 to December 8.

Lum has produced public artworks in cities from Rotterdam in The Netherlands to Burnaby, B.C., including his Monument for East Vancouver (2010) on Clark Avenue in Vancouver. B.C. He’s co-founder of Monument Lab, a public art and history studio based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is a professor in the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania and Chair of the Department of Fine Art. He was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize this year.

Over the course of summit, 32 international artists, curators, art consultants, architects, cultural planners and urbanists will present a broad range of perspectives that shape public art making today. Sessions will examine collaborations, the civic role of the artist, public art in urban planning, access and accessibility, indigeneity, site-specificity, temporary public art projects, and digital public art.

Admission is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Learn more about the virtual public art summit at and join the conversation by using #MarkhamPublicArt.

Markham’s Public Arts Program was initiated in 2003 and formalized in 2012. Since 2013, five permanent artworks have been commissioned through the program, with two more currently in progress. Among other things, Markham’s Public Art Master Plan 2020-2024 and Implementation Plan are designed to celebrate the city’s diverse cultures and heritage from multiple points of view.

Photo: The full-scale mural, Shifting Landscapes, is a community-based public art project commissioned by the City of Markham. It was led by blowtorch performance artist James Ruddle and completed in collaboration with students and alumni from Markham high schools. City of Markham photo.

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