City partners with JEMM Properties to relocate Wishing Well sculpture
The City of Calgary has partnered with JEMM Properties, a local community developer, to relocate the Wishing Well public art piece to “Bridge” at Bridgeland (950 McPherson Square N.E.) at no additional cost to Calgary taxpayers. Installation at the new publicly accessible square outside the new multi-family rental living space and retail plaza is planned for June 2022.
“I am so pleased with the collaboration between government and private industry for a creative solution that benefits The City, JEMM Properties and Calgarians,” said Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra. “This was accomplished through a public-private partnership, which provided opportunities for cost sharing and additionally made certain the sculpture is in a safe new location. Very pleased to be keeping this important public art piece in NE Calgary and ensuring a rad home in a rad Ward 9 neighborhood.”
Designed by renowned artists Living Lenses of San Francisco, the Wishing Well was originally installed at the Genesis Centre in 2012. Due to safety concerns related to concentrated reflective sunlight, the piece was removed. Since then, The City has worked with specialty engineers to mitigate risks.
Ahead of the installation, a non-reflective coating has been applied to the interior of the sculpture to eliminate the possibility for the inside curve of the sculpture to concentrate reflective sunlight. Samples of this non-reflective coating have been successfully tested in a controlled lab environment.
In addition, the new location and orientation of the sculpture greatly reduces sunlight reflections for nearby drivers and pedestrians. By placing the Wishing Well on a 20-degree angle facing west-east, the sculpture will receive the least amount of sunlight exposure. Sunlight exposure will further be minimized with the sculpture being placed next to a high-rise apartment building.
“Relocating public artwork takes significant planning and relationship building,” said Jennifer Thompson, Manager of Arts and Culture at The City of Calgary. “This partnership with JEMM Properties is a good example of our new direction for public art and paves the way for more collaborations with our local private sector.”
“This has been a genuine collaboration with The City and the community and together we found an achievable way to get this spectacular sculpture out of storage,“ said Edan Lindenbach, Principal, Land, Planning, and Development at JEMM Properties. “There were open minds all around the table during our discussions with The City and that positivity got us to an exciting re-homing strategy that will see the Wishing Well enjoyed by Calgarians. It’s kind of a comeback story -- a win for the environment and a win for the community, and we’re pleased to have lent a hand by providing a safe and suitable location.”
Ahead of the installation, The City is working with a local IT company to upgrade the interactive multimedia component that gives the sculpture its name and allows visitors to send the Wishing Well a text message which it converts into light and sound. As each letter of the alphabet is assigned a different sound, each unique text message (i.e. Hello Wishing Well) produces a distinct light and sound pattern.
The Wishing Well sculpture is made of stainless steel and weighs 2,200 kilograms. It is 3.88 metres tall, 5.36 metres wide and 4 metres deep.