One afternoon in 2005, Barbara Cole rode her bicycle around Vancouver collecting signatures from a small group of artists, including Lorna Brown, Colin Griffiths, Marko Simcic, and Patrik Andersson. The ink on paper was for a set of incorporation documents that would formalize a new artist-run organization with a focus on temporary public art projects. Cole had professional knowledge experience of the civic and bureaucratic processes and methods that have been established to produce art in public spaces and she noticed that little opportunity existed for temporary site-specific works to develop under the existing structures. With the idea that an independent organization could facilitate this process differently, Other Sights was founded to create temporary site-specific art projects in public spaces.
Cole had been working as a public art consultant with the City of Vancouver, trying to find ways to change how people look at public art from the quantifiable to the qualitative. Other Sights took up this notion of changing the language around public art.
One of the main concerns that guided the initial projects was one of ownership over space that is perceived to be public. Park, a public art project by Marko Simcic that was developed by the City and launched by Other Sights, involved citing a work in the parking lane on Ontario Street. During the launch event a sculpture (deemed a ‘float’ for insurance purposes) was towed and pushed onto the street. The sculpture later came to rest in front of the house of Tom Cone and Karen Matthews, a simple enough sounding move, but one that involved various levels of permissions within civic government, and consultation with the local community. To address such requirements during the development of the work, Simcic created a postcard, distributed to the community living along Ontario Street that read:
I am interested in hosting an artwork
_ For 3-6 months
_ For 1-3 months
_ For 1-4 weeks
_ For up to 1 week
_ I am not interested in hosting an artwork
Other Sights developed as a board-driven entity, with the artists involved each lending their particular expertise to the accomplishment of projects that they championed. Being incorporated, it became necessary to separate the role of the board from executive director in order to facilitate payment of fees for individual projects. To that end, Cole stepped off the board to take on the role. Further, when individual members of the board bring forward projects that they individually manage, they step away from a governance role with Other Sights.
The Other Sights group has managed several temporary site specific installations over the short duration of the organization’s existence, fundraising on a project-by-project basis. In order to better support this process, some members of the board have begun an independent consulting service, in which they take on the management of various projects, bringing a portion of the funds to the organization as independently produced revenue.
Most recently, the organization has been working with Holly Schmidt to create Grow, a work that reclaims an abandoned public lot along False Creek to grow plant life without requiring any new infrastructure. Schmidt’s project involves the public in its unfolding, bringing to the fore a central aspect of Other Sights’ goals, by positing a potential space of interaction for art-making that unlike permanent sculpture or monument, leaves room for change.
Founding Artists and First Board of Directors
Date of Incorporation
May 18, 2005
Other Sights Mandate
The purposes of the society are as follows:
a. To manage an organization that secures sites for temporary public art projects in public spaces
b. To build partnerships and collaborations in the procurement of sites for temporary public art projects, exhibitions, and artist residencies
c. To organize educational public outreach programs which bring attention to artists’ projects in the public realm
d. To encourage interest in and support for public art and the activities of the organization
e. To contribute to the development of public art projects and activities in the community
f. To undertake initiatives to obtain funds and earn revenue in support of the purposes set out herein
Other Sights Mission
Other Sights is dedicated to challenging perceptions, encouraging discourse and promoting individual perspectives about shared social spaces. Other Sights seeks to create a presence for art in spaces and sites that are accessible to a broad public, such as the built environment, communications technologies, the media, and the street.
Operating outside of the gallery context, Other Sights develops new and unexpected exhibition platforms and provides support to artists, writers and curators interested in creating temporary, critically rigorous work for highly visible locations. We collaborate and share resources with organizations and individuals in order to present projects that consider the aesthetic, economic and regulatory conditions of public places and public life.
Other Sights Projects and Locations as of 2011
Marko Simcic, Park, 2005- present, Ontario Street, various locations – Other Sights was only involved with the project launch and the move from the Pendulum Gallery to Tom Cone’s house on Ontario Street
Cameron Kerr, Marble Infrastructure Project, June 28- September 9, 2006, Vancouver Public Library, Main Branch, Georgia Street plaza, SE corner of the Main Post Office, and SW corner of Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Group Search, Art in the Library
Vancouver Public Library, Main Branch, 350 West Georgia St
Jillian Pritchard & Dan Starling, Twelve Subjects
September 2006- 2007
Kathy Slade, Fifty-two Weeks of Transactions at the Lending Library
September 2006- 2007
Marina Roy, Trappings
September 2006- March 2008
Antonia Hirsch, Anthropometrics
November 2006- February 2007
Mark Soo, Lamp, After UNDP Human Development Index, With Knot January 2007- July 2007
Laiwan, Call Numbers – The Library Recordings
January 2007- March 2008
presented on the Bonnis Media CoreVision dual outdoor screens located at the intersection of Granville and Robson Streets
Antonia Hirsch, Vox Pop
October 20 – 26, 2008
Shaun Gladwell, Storm Sequence (excerpt)
January 15 – 25, 2009
Pipolitti Rist, Open My Glade
February 13 – 22, 2009
Aaron Carpenter, Ffinnigans Wwake
May 15 – 24, 2009
When the Hosts Come Home
T & T (Tony Romano and Tyler Brett), False Creek
February 5 – March 3, 2010,
Pendulum Gallery, HSBC Building Atrium, 885 West Georgia St. After the othersights project, the 3 sculptures were subsequently relocated on the Hill Ranch outside of Kamloops.
Köbberling & Kaltwasser, The Games Are Open
Summer 2010, South East False Creek
Eric Deis, Last Chance, April- Sept 2010, THE WALL, CBC Plaza, 700 block of Hamilton Street
Marie Annharte Baker, Sonny Assu, Raymond Boisjoly, Chris Bose, Christian Bök, Jeff Derksen, Phillip Djwa, Lori Emerson, Mercedes Eng, Roger Farr, Emily Fedoruk, Edgar Heap of Birds, Candice Hopkins, Larissa Lai, Peter Morin, Postcommodity, Marianne Nicolson, Lisa Robertson, Susan Roy, Henry Tsang, cheyanne turions, Michael Turner, Daina Warren, Tania Willard, Rita Wong, Rachel Zolf
April 4 – 30, 2011, Electronic Billboard, Burrard Street Bridge
Holly Schmidt, Grow
May- November 2011, South East False Creek
Köbberling & Kaltwasser, The Games are Open, 2010.
Northwest corner of the Olympic Village, Southeast False Creek, Vancouver. Photo Credit: Site Photography