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Diversity is key for public art committee, councillor says

City Councillor Rick Kerr says the more voices that can get involved in the process of choosing the locations and style of public art projects the better. Oshawa is currently looking for two volunteers to join its Public Art Task Force. (Photo by Joel Wittnebel).

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The City of Oshawa is looking to residents to get involved with who decides the public art installations across the city and for one councillor, the more diverse the views, the better.

“I think it’s very critical to have input from our community in this and from a wide number of sources,” says Councillor Rick Kerr. “The city isn’t going to put itself in the position of being the art aficionado, that’s not its role.”

Currently, the city is accepting applications for a pair of volunteer positions to be part of the Public Art Taskforce, a committee that will advise city staff on public art projects, while also making recommendations on juried public art competitions.

“Art is in the eye of the beholder and art is relative,” Kerr says, adding that public art installations can have the power to revitalize the neighbourhoods within which they are installed, noting that the location is “critical”.

“Maybe it spurs more pride in the neighbourhood and makes the neighbourhood rejuvenate a little differently,” he says.

Specifically, Kerr points to the downtown, and along with installations like Gallery 67, public art will be part of the revitalization of the city’s core.

“This whole infusion of art on a daily basis that people look at, it just adds to the whole piece,” he says.

According to a release from the city, interested individuals must either work or live in Oshawa and have professional experience related to urban planning, visual, literary and or performing arts, art history arts administration, visual arts consulting, civil engineering, heritage research, architecture and/or landscape design and planning.

The city is accepting applications for the two positions until Aug. 1 and those interested can apply online at