Background

John Abel Park located in Aurora is a non-recreational programmed park that will feature wood carvings on the park pathway that tell a story, connecting the artworks to the outdoor space, as a gateway into the David Tomlinson Nature Reserve, and includes an outdoor amphitheatre, a nature-based playground, and an education focused healing garden. The park was named after former Councillor John Abel who had a strong passion for arts, culture, and nature. This park is expected to be completed in 2024.

Call for Expression of Interest

The Town of Aurora is seeking individuals or groups to provide expression of interest for three key elements of John Abel Park.

  1. To design and create wood carvings.
  2. Consult on and facilitate the implementation of a healing garden.
  3. Assist with the community garden plot program (group or individual).

To learn more or submit your application or resume please review each of the Expressions of Interest below.

Seeking Indigenous Artists to create wood pole carvings 

 Project Context

The Town of Aurora is seeking a talented Indigenous artist, or artist group, to design and carve a series of black locust (Robinia) wood logs to be permanently installed at John Abel Park.

The objective of the artist carving project is to celebrate and display the Indigenous histories, artforms, worldviews, and ways of knowing in the Aurora and particularly Aurora’s parks in a nature-based context.

The Town of Aurora is seeking a talented Indigenous artist, or artist group, to design and carve a series of black locust (Robinia) wood logs to be permanently installed at John Abel Park.

We know that Indigenous cultures have called this land home since time immemorial, this was, and still is, Indigenous land. To fully understand the details of Indigenous presence, specifically within the boundaries now known as Aurora, more information is required from other sources, such as generational knowledge, archaeological digs, and newfound historical documents.

While Indigenous People have called this land home for millennia, European settlement of Aurora only began in the late 18th century. The available historic records contain detailed accounts of the increase in settlement, industrialization, and development of Aurora from the 18th century onward.

We acknowledge the disparity between the amount of known Indigenous histories and colonial histories within our municipal borders and beyond.

As we move forward, we are committed to broadening our understanding of the historical record, meaningfully walking the path of Truth and Reconciliation, and creating space for different forms of knowledge and storytelling.
 Display Context
These wood pole carvings will be featured on the park pathway and can have a common theme or story, connecting the artworks to the outdoor space. The opportunity is unique as we are seeking the artist to create or visualize the theme and story of the art installations.  
 Carving Themes 
The themes stated below should be considered as general categories and are not meant to be prescriptive. A submission can relate to a single theme or multiple themes.
  • The natural environment
  • Creation
  • Storytelling
  • Indigenous ways of knowing
  • Flora and Fauna
  • Community
  • Current Zeitgeist 
 Artist Eligibility
 The application process is open to all artists who:
  • Identify as Indigenous (First Nation, Métis, or Inuit)
  • Have successfully completed artwork of a similar scope, on time, and within a budget; and
  • Have a proven artistic ability to produce original artwork.
 Insurance
The Artist must be in good standing with the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) and shall provide to the Town satisfactory evidence, in the form of a valid WSIB Clearance Certificate, upon the execution of this Artist Agreement and at any other time at the Town’s request.

The Artist shall maintain, in full force and effect, Commercial General Liability Insurance for a minimum of Two-Million Canadian Dollars ($2,000,000 CAD) per any one occurrence.  Such insurance shall name The Corporation of the Town of Aurora as additional insured with respect to this Artist Agreement.  The Commercial General Liability Insurance shall include the following: Products and completed operations; Personal injury; Cross liability; Contractual liability; and Thirty (30) days’ prior written notice of material change to, cancellation, or non-renewal of the policy.  The Artist shall provide the Town with evidence of insurance upon request.

Town Staff are available to assist the selected artists with obtaining these requirements if necessary.
 Submission Requirements
Artists interested in submitting a design must complete an Application Form by June 17, 2024, that includes the following:
  1. Proposed Concept: A high-resolution rendering in colour (JPEG, PNG, or PDF) that effectively communicates the artistic concept and reflects at least one of the carving themes.
  2. Artist’s Statement: Maximum of 500 words in length that describes the artist’s interest in the project, experience with similar projects, and any other comments that will differentiate them as a candidate.
  3. Examples of Past Work: Between 3-5 images or links to images of past projects.

References: provide up to three references from individuals familiar with the artist’s work. The list should include contact information for each reference.

Designs may be disqualified because of the following:

  • The application form is incomplete or does not meet submission requirements.
  • The resolution of the submitted design is too low and details cannot be clearly viewed when enlarged.
  • The design includes imagery taken directly from another artist’s work or from any copyrighted work. Submissions must be original artwork.
  • The design is inappropriate for display in an outdoor public place.
  • The design contains direct advertisement of a product or company name associated with any artist or third party, any libelous or slanderous expression, or any obscene or pornographic content.
  • Artists share their designs before a final decision has been made and the winning design has been announced by the Town of Aurora.
 Selected Design

The preferred designs will be carved by the artist directly onto the black locust (Robinia) wood poles.

The carved wood poles will be featured at John Abel Park on the park pathway. The park site will feature an outdoor amphitheatre, a nature-based playground, as well as a community garden and healing garden.

The Town has acquired 15 black locust wood poles that are currently stockpiled at the Joint Operations Centre at 229 Industrial Parkway North in Aurora. The poles vary in size from 20 cm to 30 cm (8” to 12”) in diameter, and from 2.5m to 4m (9’ to 13’) in length. The poles have been de-barked, but branch stubs and some cavities remain.

The parks design is intended to have 12 wood poles be carved; it will be up to the selected artist to choose the individual poles that are best suited for the purpose. Once the poles are carved, the poles should be finish sanded or planed to eliminate any surface irregularities that may be harmful to the touch. Upon completion the Town will arrange for direct burial mounting in John Abel Park. The bottom 90 cm to 120 cm (3 to 4’) will be embedded into the ground.

We prefer that the carvings take place at the Joint Operations Centre yard where the poles are currently located. Carvings should be completed by August 31, 2024, for installation by the Town in September 2024. If the artist wishes to move the poles to a location of their choosing, or if the timeframe is not attainable, this should be clearly identified in the submission requirements.

Artists may elect to preview the carving materials prior to submitting an expression of interest, or alternatively, the Town may provide photographs of the black locust poles.
 Selection Process
A selection committee comprised of representatives from the Indigenous Relations Committee, and Town Staff will evaluate all submissions based on the following criteria:
  • Overall artistic merit of the proposed design (0-40 points)
  • Artist’s experience and applicability of past work (0-30 points)
  • Responsiveness of the design to the Themes (0-20 points)
  • Quality of references provided (0-10 points) 
 Artists Fee
The selected Indigenous artist will receive compensation at an hourly rate, proposed by the artist and agreed to by the Town. Please include the hourly rate requested and the number of hours anticipated for total completion of the design and installation of the carved poles. This artist fee is expected inclusive of tax, technical consultation, necessary site visits, concept development, administration, installation, materials required to complete the mural, attendance at community unveiling, and participation in an artist Q&A to take place during the unveiling. 
 Project Timeline
Artist to begin carvings – June 2024

Wood carvings completed - August 31, 2024
Unveiling of carvings – September 2024

Timeline subject to change based on Town needs and agreed upon timeline.

Terms and Conditions
  •  All artwork created through this process will remain under the ownership of the Town.
  • Each design must be the original artwork of the artist named in the application.
  • The Town, at its sole discretion, may request additional information, and may amend the guidelines as deemed necessary to provide greater clarification to Artists in preparation of their submission.
  • Copyrighted or commercial images cannot be depicted. Artists may take inspiration from imagery that is copyrighted as a part of their design and may be required to clearly site the source in the description.
  • By submitting their artwork, artists consent to the use of said artwork by the Town.
  • They further understand that if their artwork is selected, they will be required to enter into a contractual agreement with the Town that outlines all expectations for products, services, responsibilities, payments, ownership of the physical project, and ownership of the copyright.
  • The Town reserves the right not to award the commission to any artist and to cancel or re-issue the Call for Artists Application at any time.
  • Artwork will not be altered in any way without the express permission of the Artist.
  • The Town reserves the right to publish photos and videos of the chosen artwork as part of communications, archival and marketing materials.
 Accessibility Requirements

Please contact Matthew Volpintesta at 365-500-3132 or by email if you require any assistance throughout the application process.

Applications must be submitted by June 17, 2024.

Apply Now

Seeking Indigenous consultant to develop a Healing Garden

The Town of Aurora is seeking an Indigenous consultant to assist in the design and implementation of an educational healing garden to be featured at John Abel Park. 

 Project Context 

We know that Indigenous cultures have called this land home since time immemorial, this was, and still is, Indigenous land. To fully understand the details of Indigenous presence, specifically within the boundaries now known as Aurora, more information is required from other sources, such as generational knowledge, archaeological digs, and newfound historical documents.

In an ongoing effort to recognize, commemorate and re-establish insight into Indigenous tradition in Aurora, the Town is seeking guidance and consultation to lead and facilitate the implementation of a healing garden as a permanent and sacred space at John Abel Park. The objective of the garden is to promote and teach traditional healing practices to residents and visitors, in celebration and recognition of the strong historical relationship with plants to heal. 

As an eligible consultant, applicants must demonstrate a trained and practical understanding of horticulture with experience in creating and stewarding healing/medicinal gardening. Preference will be given to anyone identifying as Indigenous and has relevant experience with healing/medicinal horticulture.
 Site Context and Scope of Work

John Abel Park is located on Hartwell Way in Aurora. This park will contain several Indigenous designed and procured art pieces, in the form of wood pole carvings, centered around a non-recreational programmed park, with a community garden program and a healing garden. The Town of Aurora is seeking an Indigenous consultant to assist in the design and implementation of an educational healing garden to be featured at John Abel Park.

As part of the Scope of Work, the consulting individual or group is expected to meet with Town staff, in person, at the site, and virtually as required, to provide guidance and advice on the design and implementation of an educational Indigenous medicine garden.

 Eligibility
  • Preference for identifying as Indigenous (First Nation, Métis, or Inuit)
  • Trained in horticulture management or landscape design with horticulture focus
  • Extensive experience in Indigenous healing plantings or medicine gardens
 Insurance

The successful applicant is expected to enter into an agreement with the Town regarding liability and will be finalized mutually. 

 Submission Requirements
  • Resume
  • Letter of experience and interest 
 Selection Process 
 Based on resume experience 
 Consultants fee

An initial fee will be awarded based on an expectation of five – 1-hour meetings, including virtual, in-person and onsite. Please include the hourly rate expected for consulting services as such. Thereafter, an annual maintenance plan will be designed with compensation agreed to by both parties. 

 Project Timetable

The project planning will begin June 2024 with site prep ahead of fall 2024 with full operation expected in spring 2025.

 Accessibility
Please contact Matthew Volpintesta at 365-500-3132 or by email if you require any assistance throughout the application process.
How to Apply 

To apply, please send your resume and a letter of interest, to Matthew Volpintesta at Mvolpintesta@Aurora.ca by June 17, 2024. 

 Call for Volunteers, Community Garden Plot Program Lead 

The Town of Aurora is seeking a dedicated volunteer individual or group to manage and facilitate the annual programming associated with the community garden plot program located at John Abel Park.

 Project Context

Featured within John Abel Park – a new community garden plot program is being established and we are seeking a devoted community volunteer group or individual to assist the Town of Aurora in leading this exciting new project. The seasonally operated garden will feature several planter box style plots and be allocated to community members seasonally.

As an eligible volunteer or group, the applicant(s) must demonstrate a trained or practical understanding of horticulture and community project management. A preference will be given to anyone with experience leading or managing similar horticulture programming or community garden programs.

 Site Context
John Abel Park is located on Hartwell Way in Aurora. The community garden will consist of 23 full size plots, measuring 2.4m x 4.8m (8’ x 16’), and 30 half size plots measuring 1.2m x 4.8m (4’ x 8’). 
 Eligibility
  • Trained in horticulture management or landscape design with horticulture focus
  • Demonstrated experience in participating and facilitating community garden programming or a similar community project. 
 Insurance 

The successful applicant is expected to enter into an agreement with the Town of Aurora regarding liability and will be finalized mutually.

 Submission Requirements
  • Resume
  • Letter of experience and interest 
 Selection Process 
 Based on experience
 Honorarium
This will be considered a volunteer position with the individual or group allocated one free garden plot per season. The Town is expected to provide essential supplies and materials such as water supply, topsoil and general maintenance and upkeep.
 Project Timeline
 To begin early summer 2024 with full operations to commence in 2025. 
 Terms and Conditions
 
 Accessibility Features

Accessible features of the park include accessible parking, level paved walkways/trails leading to the garden plots, hard-packed gravel around the plots, and several garden plots are raised above grade to better facilitate mobility restricted gardeners. 

 How to Apply
To apply, please send your resume and a letter of interest, to Matthew Volpintesta at Mvolpintesta@Aurora.ca by June 17, 2024.