You + Me Chairs Sculpture Unveiled at Jackson Park
Mayor Drew Dilkens was joined by Ward 5 Councillor Ed Sleiman on behalf of the City’s International Relations Committee, representatives from Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, and local artists Mark and Laura Williams to unveil the You + Me Chairs (video), the latest sculpture installation in Windsor’s public art collection.
The piece was originally commissioned by the International Relations Committee in 2012 to honour Windsor’s relationship with its sister cities, serve as a focal point in the Sister City Gardens section of Jackson Park and to mark the International Children’s Games in Windsor in 2013, and it was approved by the City’s Public Art Advisory Committee. The sculpture features two seven-foot-high Windsor-styled chairs cast in bronze and positioned side by side and slightly facing one another.
“We always liked the vision of two large chairs positioned to encourage folks to climb into them and take pictures, and to sit and have a conversation,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, who chaired the International Relations Committee when the project first received the green light. “This is a wonderful addition to Jackson Park and to the City’s impressive and diverse public art collection, and the City thanks the artists, donors and partners who worked to bring this vision to life.”
The final project cost about $120,000, which includes the creation and installation of the sculpture, as well as site preparation and a commemorative plaque. The International Relations Committee contributed $5,000; the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland donated $50,000; and the City’s Public Art Endowment Fund provided about $65,000. The Public Art Endowment Fund was created and invested by City Council with $2.75 million in 2017 and has grown to just over $3 million to date. A portion of the interest is used to help fund art projects in the community. The You + Me Chairs is the first recipient of the fund.
The International Relations Committee works to support the efforts of the mayor and council in the enhancement of Windsor’s international image; promote and enhance Windsor’s relationship with its sister cities; and support international education, cultural, sport and economic initiatives.
The Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland is made up of approximately 50 professionals who meet together to collaborate on business as well as use their collective talents and resources to make a difference in the world. The organization has contributed in a meaningful way to significant community and international projects and often focuses on initiatives that focus on the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace.
Local sculptor Mark Williams worked with his wife Laura and with John Vickers of Hopper Foundry to cast the chairs in bronze. The sculpture is based on a concept by artist Laura Shintani.
“I love public art. No matter where in the world I travel to, I am drawn to the art a community displays. It tells part of the community’s story. It pulls people in and makes them stop for a moment to appreciate the world around them. These chairs carry an important message at this particular time in the history of world. It is more important than ever to make time to sit and speak with folks who make us see the world differently. These chairs encourage conversation and discovery, at a time when we all need to remember the benefits of each.”
– Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens
“The International Relations Committee continues to promote Windsor’s international interests and image. We focus on making our existing Sister City relationships stronger and cultivating new ones. Like the amazing works we see each year in the youth art exhibition that shows us creative work from around the world, these You + Me chairs will inspire us to look for the good in the world, and in each other.”
– Councillor Ed Sleiman, on behalf of the International Relations Committee
“The Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland is pleased to be part of the ongoing plans to improve and beautify Jackson Park for the Windsor community. In honour of our 40th anniversary, the club is pleased to be able to help support the You + Me sculpture, 40 Magnolia trees, a drinking fountain and bike rack. We applaud the City of Windsor for their vision to maintain and improve the park – a jewel in our parks system. We look forward to continuing to be part of Jackson Park for years to come!”
– Gisele Seguin, Board President, Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland