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2016 News and Information

Cover Stories take art onto Richmond streets

20 April 2016

Creative new manhole covers will soon be turning up on Richmond streets. The new covers are the result of a contest which challenged local artists to create designs for City manhole covers, which would reflect Richmond’s cultural heritage.Manhole cover art

Mayor Malcolm Brodie was joined by the four winning artists Tuesday, April 19 to unveil the actual manhole covers at Richmond City Hall. The Cover Stories manhole cover art contest launched in 2014 and brought in 150 entries. The four winning designs were created by artists Caroline Dyck, Greg Allen, Jeff Porter and Susan Pearson.

“This was a fun contest that took common, previously unremarkable pieces of our civic infrastructure and transformed them into pieces of art that celebrate some of the things that make Richmond unique,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “The new manhole covers will add to our community vibrancy and I congratulate each of the winning artists for their creative vision.”

Over the next few years, 200 of the artist-designed storm and sanitary covers will be incorporated into the City landscape and will enhance the community’s street experience. The first 40 covers will be installed in Steveston Village and along No. 3 Road in the City Centre, to be followed by installations in pedestrian areas throughout the city. The community may view the artist-designed manholes at Richmond City Hall until May 10, 2016.

Artist Caroline Dyck’s manhole design depicts Japanese paper cranes fishing for salmon. The artwork represents the Japanese community who settled in the historic Steveston fishing community at the turn of the 20th century. Paper cranes are associated with luck in Japan, and legend says if one folds 1,000 of the origami creations, their wish will be granted.

The manhole by artist Greg Allen portrays the Britannia Shipyard, National Historic Site, an important location in Richmond’s history. It illustrates boat building during the height of the region’s salmon fishery industry.

Artist Jeff Porter’s work acknowledges Richmond’s Chinese population and their historical contribution to the city with the “shou” symbol. The “shou” symbol at the centre of the manhole cover is the blessing of longevity and good health. The design also includes fish scales and waves, which represent Richmond’s maritime history, and a bold pattern signifying reference to the Coast Salish peoples.

Richmond’s beginnings as a First Nations fishing camp is the theme of artist Susan Pearson’s artwork on her manhole cover. Encircling the design is the cedar tree, which First Nations peoples made their canoes from, and cedar tree bark, which they made their nets and ropes from.

The manhole cover fabrication company, Westview Sales Limited, sponsored the project and worked with City staff and the artists to produce the manhole covers, which will establish a sense of place, remembrance and pride for years to come.

The City of Richmond wants to know what you think of the artist designed manhole covers. Please tweet photos and messages to @Richmond_BC using one or more of the hashtags #richmondcoverstories or #richmondpublicart. Prizes will be given to three randomly selected tweets.

The artist-designed manhole covers can be viewed at www.richmond.ca/culture/publicart/whatsnew.