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Community-Based Projects–Award of Excellence

Dirt City::Dream City

  • Project Developer: Edmonton Arts Council
  • Artist: Various

Location: The Quarters and Boyle Street

Project Description

Dirt City :: Dream City united the creative visions of 15 Edmonton artists with the desires and dreams of one of the City’s oldest communities. The installation aimed to capture the spirit of the extensive urban revitalization that was, at the time, just getting underway in the Quarters / Boyle Street.

Taking place throughout the Quarters area, the transitory art installation featured artworks that delved into the past,  and looked to the future of this area. Challenged to use the area, its history, and the people living there as inspiration, the artists and curator engaged with the community on a large scale. Workshops and open houses, as well as day to day interactions with passersby all served to inform the fourteen art works which were displayed throughout the area.

The provocative and innovative works ranged from a community garden and impromptu violin performances to a campground and massive dream catcher.

Embraced by residents of the area – both housed and unhoused – Dirt City :: Dream City attracted a new demographic to the area, engaged the community, and inspired enthusiasm for revitalization of the area. A popular destination, the original dates, July 20 – 30, 2013, were extended into August.

Juror Comments

  • This project is the beginning of something that could change the community forever.
  • This type of project should happen in every city.
  • This project sends a political message and challenges the development industry to elevate the discussion about design in Edmonton.
  • This is a great example of “People’s Art.”
  • The art occupies public space that no one wants ownership of and makes people think about the spaces they pass by.

For More Information

Brian Van Sickle

Title Senior Urban Designer



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