Artists have lost total faith again!


Waterfront Art work
Artist's rendition of how the artwork tower will look.
THUNDER BAY – The issue of paying $900,000 to not to an artist group, but it is supposedly going to go to a architectural firm, (not yet finalized).I want to see stopped…too many tenders have gone out our backdoor, lots of money to other ‘firms,’ not artists.

That’s the unfair issue. Artists here are competing with these tenders not with other artists but with ‘architectural firms, which seems to be OK by most of the city, since the city does not really seem to believe there are worthy good expert artists here. Much has been done behind our back; meaning the city can’t seem to distinguish an architectural firm from an art/design group or individual artist or designer.

They have repeated history again, but this time the fact that way,way too much $ is going bye-bye out of from the needed pockets of local artists. It is sickening and a slap in the face to us artists/designers/sculpturers here. The fact is for the city to give it to away to an architectural type ‘firm’ is not competing fairly at all.

Things are being shmooshed behind closed doors somewhere. Get accountable City of Thunder Bay; you owe it your artists that bring in alot of tourist dollars.

Artists are different from an architectual firm; so the tendering is way wrong. Why does the city have problems with giving tenders to artists locally;- they will feel they will have to be involved, & feel like artists have a way of communicating that would they could not understand. So thus giving it to a ‘so called ‘professional firm’ in another city, who know nothing about our heritage, is another slap in the face of designers here. That money could have been used to ship up a free small lighthouse Minnesota is giving away & that would have some meaning, at the waterfront, then put that money into education, more youth counsellors and other important things, and still have lots of money left over.

This $900K is way over priced, and the city got sucked in; the city got swindled by it’s own ignornace of art. When one keeps hearing the cliche, from some alderman saying, “well I don’t know much about art, but I guess we’re stuck with it”…and well, if done by professionals, that means it should be good.

Does that mean if a local group of artists did it, it would not be good art? We need to create more meaningful, long lasting artworks, and we have neglected our rich heritage. Let’s get on to our heritage monuments. Enough surprised over-spending at the waterfront; now let us spread the art around the city, by city artists, sculpturers and designers. I am not going to let this issue go away.

I agree with Mayor Hobbs, who I feel to be expressing that the art should be meaningful; as in heritage art, that everyone will appreciate. Enough of this ‘slick’ designwork that has little value, designed by people who do not know our city. Is the city hiring out of town firms to help define and explain visually what our city Thunder Bay is all about; don’t we know? If so our city council has a big problem. That ‘stick’ is almost a million bucks and looks like it could fall over in the next hail storm.


A giant hockey stick would have been more meaningful and understandable. Well how about 12 giant Hockey Sticks 20 +feet high, side by side representing our city sports heritage. More tourists would look at that. Now that is creative, and I’d put a price of $100K on it, if I was to design & co-ordinate it with a sculpturer. Looks good to me; solid wood,steel and straight up, making proud our hockey heritage, and each stick representing maybe all the Provinces &Territories in Canada; we need to show our youth, our future, and tourists and visitors, that we have a city with many years of great history to be shown, because we have a damn unique Heritage and Cultural background.

Artists here have lost total faith again, just as I was thinking we’d be seeing hope that more arts would be spread around here created by local artists. A shame. Other cities respect their artists, and many I’ve seen not let happen what I see happening here. This is ludicrous. Shame, shame whoever is talking behind closed doors, keeping us designers from being in the know. This is lack of respect I see; so how much slapping in the face can we artists, designers and artisians take?

Vesa Peltonen
Creative art director/media,design instructor/musician/writer

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