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New West to officially unveil Miyíw̓ts - Water's Edge public art

Save the date: Official unveiling of public art at təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre on May 8
Miyíw̓ts - Water's Edge, created by James Harry , will be officially unveiled on May 8.

A “stunning” piece of public art greets visitors to təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre.

Miyíw̓ts - Water's Edge, a 16-foot-tall mirror polished stainless steel sculpture, is featured in the plaza at the main entrance to the facility. It was created by James Harry, a Vancouver-based Coast Salish artist from the Squamish Nation.

“It’s stunning,” Coun. Ruby Campbell said at a recent council meeting.  “It’s absolutely stunning.”

Harry, who grew up in New Westminster, said that walking in the nearby Glenbrook Ravine allowed him to develop an intrinsic sense of place about where this sculpture will finally rest.

“As I visited this site, I was moved and inspired by the way water had carved away the earth and stone in the ravine, creating intricate shapes that spoke to the history of the land,” he said in an artist’s statement.

“I grew up in New Westminster as an Indigenous student. It was the beginning of a time of growing awareness of the power of my ancestry and the complexity of my peoples’ history. My personal journey, combined with these awakenings, helped me create a sculpture that reflects the strength and power of the ravine site while referencing my Salish roots.”

Community members are invited to attend the official unveiling ceremony of Miyíw̓ts – Water's Edge on Wednesday, May 8 from noon to 2 p.m.

“There will be a ceremony at noon, followed by bannock and refreshments in the facility,” said Renee Chadwick, the city’s manager of special projects and community partnerships. “So, we welcome the community to come to that.”

Tobi May, the city’s senior manager of civic buildings and properties, recently told council the city’s public art proposal call was only open to Indigenous artists, as the city had a sincere desire to commission public art from an Indigenous artist.

Along with funding the “single-largest public art commission” undertaken by the city, May said there have also been discussions about also using a portion of the public art budget to do an Indigenous art installation or special narrative signage at the təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre site.

Coun. Daniel Fontaine, who is Metis, said it’s important that Indigenous components be included inside təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre, beyond the facility’s name.

One down, three to go.

The City of New Westminster held the first celebration related to opening of təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre on April 29, when it opened the community centre on April 29.

Three more celebrations are planned at the facility, located at 65 East Sixth Ave.

  • The public art unveiling is on Wednesday, May 8 from 12 to 2 p.m.
  • The aquatic centre opening is on Tuesday, May 14 at 4 p.m.
  • The grand opening celebration of təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic And Community Centre is on Saturday, June 1  from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.