CMLC welcomes local wildlife artist to its curated art program

Designed and developed by Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) – the organization leading the exciting redevelopment of East Village and the Rivers District – Jack & Jean Leslie RiverWalk™ is a two-kilometre stretch of beautifully landscaped pathways and gathering places along the Bow River between Centre Street bridge and 9th Avenue SE.
To ensure that the riverside promenade remains dynamic and engaging as a destination for all of Calgary’s residents and visitors, CMLC manages a curated art program for RiverWalk. Every 30 to 36 months, CMLC issues a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit interest from prospective artists and identify a new local artist to showcase. The selected artist receives a commission of $75,000, which covers artist fees, materials and installation costs for six sites along RiverWalk.
“Our RiverWalk public art initiative is a vital part of CMLC’s Art in the Public Realm program, which supports our master-plan vision and placemaking objectives for the new and improved East Village,” says Susan Veres, CMLC’s, senior vice president. “Creating engaging spaces that surprise, delight, provoke memorable interaction and encourage people to visit are important goals of the program – goals that the RiverWalk initiative dynamically fulfills.”
For the newest RiverWalk art installation, CMLC has selected contemporary Canadian landscape artist Curtis Van Charles Sorensen (Van Charles Art), who is currently adorning RiverWalk with a series of images focusing on Canadian wildlife – the beaver, fox, coyote, heron and many others. According to the artist, all of the elements are derived from indigenous flowers, leaves and animals.
“My body of work narrates an authentic adventure through the Canadian wilderness,” says Sorensen. “Equipped with a backpack and a camera, I travel to the deepest points of the Canadian backcountry to capture images of nature that I digitally collage, apply to handcrafted wooden supports and detail with acrylic paint. 
“My mission is to be recognized as an ambassador for the Canadian outdoor experience – an artist who advocates further understanding of the Canadian wild while promoting conservation and preservation.”
The RiverWalk sites that Sorensen’s creations will adorn include two public washroom sites, one maintenance building site and three bridge/flyover. His installation is replacing The Field Manual: A compendium of local influence – a collection of multimedia images and sculptures by Calgary collective The Light & Soul – which CMLC selected through a 2012 RFP.
This marks the second installation of public art in East Village this month. Earlier in September the construction hoarding surrounding the New Central Library site was updated with 58 4’x10’ painted panels featuring the work of local artists Solomon Bandi and Wabi Sabi Libra. Now in its second phase, the NCL temporary public art program can be seen at street level along 3rd Street SE and 9th and 7th Avenues SE. 

Imagined as a mixed-use, amenity-rich master-planned neighbourhood in the downtown core, East Village will be home to more than 11,000 residents upon completion in 2027. With local amenities like RiverWalk, St. Patrick’s Island, the New Central Library, National Music Centre and an urban shopping centre, East Village has become a highly desirable neighbourhood in Calgary’s downtown core.
For more information about CMLC and its redevelopment successes in East Village, visit www.calgarymlc.ca