Public art: Get ready for Flower Tree on the middle arm

A large tree of flowers may soon adorn the middle arm dyke trail near the Richmond Olympic Oval.

The $437,500 public art piece named Flower Tree, by South Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa, is being proposed by Richmond’s public art planner Eric Fiss for the planned Hollybridge Way Plaza. The flowers could compliment the expanding waterfront park, as they’d be situated next to a soon-to-be-built public pier.

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The fibre-reinforced plastic flowers would sit perched on top of a nine metre steel frame that resembles a stump.

flower tree
Flower Tree, as envisioned on the middle arm park

Choi has built similar flower trees for locations in Shanghai, China, Lyon, France and Tinan, Taiwan. The award-winning artist has made many other pieces of art from flowers.

Developer Aspac (Oval 8 Holdings Ltd.) will pay for the artwork as part of its public art contribution after rezoning of the nearby property to build 173 condos at River Green. A $25,000 fund from the developer would allow the flowers to be re-painted at no cost to the city for the next 15 years.

The artwork was approved by the Public Art Advisory Committee, consisting of three art experts, a local resident and the developer’s landscape architect. It still requires city council’s approval.

Public artwork must ultimatley be passed by council, which hasn't always receptive to proposals.

Last year, proposed public artwork consisting of black and white photographs of ginseng roots set in glass and scaled to the proportion of human figures got the boot from Richmond city councillors Carol Day, Linda McPhail and Harold Steves at a parks and recreation committee meeting last week.

The art was intended for the foot of the Dinsmore Bridge in the Oval Village neighbourhood.

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