The Pouch Cove Sculpture Garden Project is a collaborative, community-led initiative that supports the artistic practice by facilitating, commissioning, and implementing contemporary public art projects. These activities are carried out by a voluntary Pouch Cove Public Art Committee made up of artists, community members, and Town of Pouch Cove representatives. The project brings arts and non-arts groups together to increase public art interest in the community, as well as the general public through programmed activities.
The current practice and production of public art in Newfoundland and Labrador focuses on the past and consists of traditional permanent monuments and memorial works in public spaces. While traditional monuments and memorials have their social functions and purposes in commemorating and remembering events and people, the Pouch Cove Sculpture Garden Public Art Project aims to fill the gap by expanding the context of art appreciation in relation to space and the public that it encounters.
The project is structured to provide equal opportunity for artists working in the public realm or advancing their artistic practice to produce art in public spaces using different mediums. The Pouch Cove Public Art Committee follows best practices to select an artist or artist group to create an artwork through a juried selection process. The use of social media keeps the community members informed throughout the entire process and provides a space for them to share their views on the artwork. The artwork remains on the town public space for a one-year duration to allow residents to become familiar with the work and experience the work throughout the year as seasons change. The temporality of the work will evoke curiosity and anticipation for the new work in the following year.
In summary, the Sculpture Garden functions as a platform to support creative activities, engage with the local community, and educate the general public about various contemporary art forms. Involving the community members in the process gives them a sense of ownership of the work. Including non-art members in the process provides new perspectives and insights into art-making.
Many cities across Canada have sculpture gardens and parks. The Pouch Cove Sculpture Garden will be a focal point for tourists and visitors to Pouch Cove and a permanent outdoor platform for arts and cultural activities for citizens, creating an open-access space that fosters public engagement. Although the idea of this project is not new, it has the 'new in Newfoundland' aspect. The ultimate goal is that the success of the Pouch Cove Sculpture Garden project will serve as a role model for other municipalities to emulate.