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Editorial: New interest in public art would be good for Yorkton

The opportunities to add art, enhance our community’s culture, attract tourists, and just simply make Yorkton a nicer place to live.
teepee 1
With some luck the teepee in City Centre Park may spur others to fund public art in the city.

YORKTON - If you follow social media, and most likely do at some level, you may have noticed more than a few posts regarding the teepee sculpture installed in City Centre Park. 

Most are favourable, posting they like the piece, or recognize how recognizable it will be as a landmark in the city. 

Others have written of concern over the city paying for such a project, which of course is simply not being aware that the project was funded by the Yorkton Tribal Council, something that was made quite clear from the first time YTC representatives spoke before Yorkton Council and reported in Yorkton This Week at the time. 

Others still have questioned why highlight one culture and not others? 

There are a couple of obvious answers to this one. 

To begin with the First Nations are a founding culture of this land, here long before settlers arrive, so marking their history and culture does hold something of a special place in terms of the lands Yorkton exists on. 

The teepee does not stop other sculptures and art from being created in the city. 

While no one can speak for Council but the seven we elect, it is likely that should another cultural group step forward with the funds to erect a community-acceptable art work dedicated to their culture – perhaps a Ukrainian-decorated egg – it is highly like Council would applaud the request. 

And, if we delve back in time just a little there was once talk of a ‘sculpture park’ in Shaw Park, with pieces on the four corners around ‘Doorways to Opportunity’ by artist Lionel Peyachew which was gifted to the city by the province in 2005.

Imagine if cultural groups, or community groups such as the Kinsmen and Lions funded four pieces for the park how much of a tourist draw it could be, and just around the corner from the Godfrey Dean Gallery as well.

And imagine the art which we could see created in Yorkton with just a little push – maybe a tax break, akin to the one that has been offered for façade upgrades in the downtown?

Would long-standing community businesses such as the Cornerstone Credit Union and Legacy Co-op create feature pieces for their parking lots – not unlike the great piece now in front of the Painted Hand Casino.

Or, imagine the Philippines-inspired mural which could be created on the north wall of the old bus depot in Yorkton, now home to the Philippines Product Store.

The opportunities to add art, enhance our community’s culture, attract tourists, and just simply make Yorkton a nicer place to live are countless, we just need to collectively work to make it happen.

Maybe the teepee will be the inspiration.