Streets connect and streets also divide. The Ribbons of History project focuses on connecting both sides of 99th Street by showcasing our artists and our neighbourhood’s history with sculpture along the street, between Saskatchewan Drive and Whyte Ave.
Five artists and two historians together found inspiration in our community’s beloved Mill Creek and in the community’s history. The ribbons evoke the creek, which flows through the ravine on the eastern edge of our community. The ribbons connect and our stories flow like tributaries, reminding us of our past and binding us together. The art featured on both sides of 99th Street was created by artists who live on both sides of the street. The two historians are separated by the street. The project connects the two sides of 99th Street with the art and the neighbourhood’s history, both natural and social, encouraging us all to engage with the street. Pedestrians are invited to enjoy the art. Walk along 99th Street and access our community league’s mobile pages through the QR codes on the bark-like panels below the sculptures. Or enjoy the art and later read about the history on the League’s website. Walking, as a form of transportation, is valued by our community. Our tree-lined streets make us proud. Unfortunately we couldn’t line 99th Street with trees – which would be our first choice. Instead, we have lined it with our art and our stories with the hope that they too will also make us proud. This project was made possible by a Living Local Grant, funded by the Edmonton Heritage Council, the Edmonton Arts Council and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues. Our Strathcona Centre Community League as well as the Strathcona Park and Playground Redevelopment Society provided funding and encouragement. Our Living Local project represents a year of hard work. It began around a dining room table and evolved into many meetings at the Wild Earth Café on 99th St. The ideas sprang from our collective concern for our community. Karen Arnett, as the lead artist, Jan Olson, as the historian and I, as the project lead, put the application together and got to work. Artists Jean McKenzie, Amanda Schutz, Kristin Gibson, Peca Rajkovic and Karen Arnett provided the designs for the art. While this core group worked for a year on the project, many other community members have worked to improve 99th Street. The decorative poles, which hold the art, are part of a streetscaping project initiated by the city, in consultation with the Strathcona Centre Community League’s Task Force for 99th. The streetscape with its bollards, bike racks, flowers, trees, benches and decorative poles is an attempt to improve the street and make it a more pleasant place to walk. The Living Local grant allowed us to put art on the decorative poles. Our history and our art are now featured in the improved streetscape. Our hope is that people who drive along 99th Street will take notice of our natural and social history, so beautifully rendered by our local artists. Drivers, now aware that they are driving through a community that cares about its street, will hopefully watch for pedestrians and slow down. Motorists and pedestrians alike will feel connected by the ribbons of history along 99th Street.
Ribbons of History Project.
To learn about our community’s history please click on the following:
- Grist Mill
- The Mill Creek Ravine
- Community Gardens
Web Design/ Technical expertise for Ribbons of History by Aiden In