Vancouver International Stone Sculpture Symposium - In the summer of 1975, the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University) hosted the Vancouver International Stone Sculpture Symposium. The chairman was Gerhard Class, an instructor at the School of Art, who later created the Sundial. From over 100 applicants, 12 artists (including three women) were chosen to work on stone (marble from Turkey and Iran and Turkish travertine that had been used as ballast) donated by Debro Construction. The artists were given a choice of site and stone and were assisted by 24 students. They received an honorarium and travel expenses and, in return, left their work here. The sculptures were carved in a back area of the Garden and moved to their final place by Canadian Air Force Reserves members. There are 11 sculptures (one was created jointly by a husband-and-wife team). In 2005, the Sculptors’ Society of BC cleaned the artworks, but time and the elements have impacted the stone, which was not high-quality.
Many of the sculptors went on to have successful careers, and their stories are found in the artwork descriptions below. The City of Vancouver Archives has a 27-minute film celebrating the Symposium.
Zimsculpt, 2009-2011, celebrated the beauty of Zimbabwean stone carving over 3 summers. One of the carvers, Patrick Sephani, fell in love with Vancouver and was able to immigrate here with his family. He is now representing many other Zimbabwean artists.
Earth Art, 2012, spotlighted 5 artists who used organic materials taken from the landscape to create artworks that decay over time. Most of the works were quite ephemeral, and only two still remain in the Garden, Transformation Plant and Confidence. Watch a video featuring the works and the artists.