With so many creative people in Newfoundland and Labrador, it’s no wonder that we have such an impressive array of public art to enjoy around the province. Have you ever wished there was an easy, convenient way to track down a particular piece so that you can add it to your itinerary the next time you visit a particular community? Or something that let you learn more about a sculpture, mural, etc., even if you can’t travel to its location? We’ve got an app for that.
Business & Arts NL is thrilled to officially release the Explore Art NL app, the first of its kind in the province. (Click here for download options.) Featuring 100+ murals, memorials, sculptures and yarn-bombings across the province, the mobile app and interactive map allows users to browse works by location, medium or artist. Information about each work, the artist, the location, and its significance is included, often with links to additional information and videos to learn more. Users can also add works to their “collection” to keep track of what they’ve seen.
Use the map and directions features to find works near you, or plan a trip to discover something new. (Want to know if you’re getting closer to a piece? You can also ask the app to notify you if you come within 1km of a given artwork.) It’s all about getting out and about and exploring public art at your own pace, in your own way.
“We’re excited about the potential for this app to showcase works of art in surprising places, to shine the spotlight on some incredible artists, and get people out exploring our beautiful province,” says Amy Henderson, Executive Director of Business & Arts NL.
“Trends in public art change over time. If you look at statues that were erected 70 or 100 years ago, and compare them to the sculptures, murals and yarn-bombings we see being created in 2021, you understand the changing values in society and see different voices coming to the forefront. We’re excited to launch this app where you can visit (virtually or in person) artworks created between 1922 and last month, and we look forward to seeing how our public art evolves in the future.”
We created Explore Art NL because we believe in the power of art to draw people together, to start conversations, invigorate public spaces, and attract visitors to the unique landscape and talented artistic voices of our province.
“Without the audience, public art is an object, taking up a space. I want people to use the app as a tool, not just to locate the artwork, look at it, and add it to the collection, but to allow themselves to engage with the artwork, explore the surroundings, and the community,” says Po Chun Lau, artist and curator of the app.
“If you’re lucky, you meet other people who are also looking at the artwork, and you can have a conversation, learn, and value the artwork and place from their perspectives.”
To celebrate the release of the Explore Art NL app, Business & Arts NL has partnered with Genesis St. John’s to create the Genesis GV80 Art Car. Featuring the artwork of illustrator and designer Vanessa Iddon, the mobile public art piece will be driving around St. John’s until the end of October.
“It’s these collaborations that make our community stronger and I hope we’ll see more patronage in the future. I’ve seen the Art Car around town a few times already and it’s made me so happy. I hope it makes other people happy too,” Iddon says.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, an art lover or curious about art, we hope Explore Art NL will help you to discover all of the beautiful pieces of public art that exist in our own backyard.
Is there a piece of artwork, located outdoors on public property, that you’d like to include? Submit your suggestion here.
A big thank you to our partners for supporting this initiative: The Government of Canada’s Healthy Communities Initiative, Genesis St. John’s, The City of St. John’s, and Tract Consulting.