Public Art

Time Line/Water Line, 2001 (City of Guelph Collection) – John McEwen, John Galt Park

Time Line/Water Line, 2001 (City of Guelph Collection) – John McEwen, John Galt Park

The City of Guelph recognizes that art in public places is a valuable asset that enhances the quality of life for its residents, strengthens community pride and improves the aesthetic of the public environment. It contributes to our community’s cultural aspirations, social wellbeing and economic vitality. Through public art we celebrate our culture and heritage, reflect our diversity, express shared values and define our unique identity.

Public Art is defined as artworks that are created by artists and acquired by the City with the specific intention of being sited on or staged in municipally owned public space.

Current Projects

City of Guelph Artist in Residence Program

The City of Guelph Artist in Residence program is an initiative of the City’s department of Culture, Tourism and Community Investments, and is guided by the Council-appointed Public Art Advisory Committee. The goal of the program is to broaden the community experience of the arts through creative activity in public spaces and to enhance community wellbeing through access to and participation in cultural programming.

2015 Program information


2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the writing of Lt. Col. John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields. This milestone will be celebrated community wide throughout the year with a series of signature initiatives and events. As part of the commemoration, a bronze statue of John McCrae by Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy will be installed in front of Guelph Civic Museum overlooking Guelph’s historic downtown.

Scope of work

Drawing inspiration from McCrae’s poem and/or the theme of remembrance, the Artist in Residence will develop a community art project that will enhance the 100th anniversary commemorative experience in Guelph’s downtown core for residents and visitors. This project is open to all art forms including visual, literary or performing arts, architecture, and sound or media arts such as film or photography. Working with City staff, the selected artist will establish a plan that includes a schedule and site considerations for interaction with community during the residency period. The residency is expected to result in a tangible outcome such as a temporary installation, creative collaboration, exhibition, event or community experience that will be shared and celebrated with the public at the end of the residency period.

Site considerations

A thriving downtown is important to the success and sustainability of a city. This program offers the opportunity to creatively animate Guelph’s downtown public spaces while encouraging the community to experience its sights, sounds, character and history. The Downtown Guelph community is inclusive of workers, merchants, residents, facilities, organizations, visitors and shoppers.


Culture Map logoLocated throughout Guelph are more than a dozen City-owned pieces of outdoor and indoor public art and historical monuments. Situated in City parks, streets, squares, and on the grounds of municipal buildings, these works enrich the urban landscape with both an artistic and historic layer.
The ever-growing City of Guelph collection is diverse in medium and form. The earliest piece in the collection, The Blacksmith Fountain, dates back to 1885 and new pieces will be added to the collection throughout the coming years.

For a complete list of the artworks in the City’s Public Art Collection, please visit


Over the spring and summer of 2012, two of Guelph’s most recognized public art works were restored, the Family Fountain and the Blacksmith Fountain. In 2013, restoration work was also completed on the Guelph War Memorial and the McCrae Memorial.

Blacksmith Fountain: before (left), after (right)

Family Fountain: before (left), after (right)

McCrae House Bonze Work (before)

McCrae House Bronze Work (before)

McCrae House Bonze Work (after)

McCrae House Bronze Work (after)

Public Art Policy

Public Art Policy

Last Updated: May 29, 2015. Broken links or incorrect information? Let us know!