Winnipeg’s Newest Public Art – ’emptyful’
Last night, Jay and I finally went downtown to visit Winnipeg’s newest modern public art exhibit, ’emptyful’. We had heard the excitement, and conversely, the grumbling about tax dollars and wanted to see for ourselves what the debate was all about. When we finally witnessed the huge stainless steel sculpture, live, in it’s glory, lit up against the night sky and elegantly spraying mist from the water components, we immediately knew which side of the debate we landed. In our opinion, it’s gorgeous, and relatively speaking, the monies spent on it are a drop in the bucket: it’s worth it, and probably more! We didn’t think there would be many, if any, people downtown on a Tuesday night, but there were a diverse crowd of all ages, families with young children, photo enthusiasts, and those who wanted a pretty photo posed in front of the fountain. Children were wide-eyed and genuinely enthusiastic: they just wanted an opportunity to touch the “colourful water”. In it’s presence, an interaction of some sort is inevitable.
Interestingly, I happened to meet the artist, Bill Pechet, at the fountain, by accident. He was waiting to do an interview, a shy man, with a friendly white beard; he nervously approached me and asked if I was the person who was supposed to interview him. I didn’t know who he was, but half an hour later, I asked him if his interviewer showed up and offered suggestions on perhaps calling the guy to “get his butt down there”. After probing for details about his interview, he modestly revealed that he was the artist! It’s a good thing he didn’t tell me earlier, or I would have pestered him with more questions about the piece, it’s name, whether he made it with Winnipeg in mind, it’s relation to Winnipeg, etc! I only talked to him for all of two minutes, before his interviewer showed, but nonetheless, he left me with a strong impression of a genuine, humble and unpretentious man – which incidentally, is also how I feel about ’emptyful.’
For those who haven’t seen ’emptyful’ yet, I encourage you to do so, especially in the early evening. I don’t want to spoil the experience for you by indulging in too many details; however, I will say that the colours are incredibly vibrant against a dark sky. These photos won’t do it justice and I already want to go back and take more to attempt to capture what was missed. We’re definitely going to visit again, and also can’t wait to see what it has in store for the winter.