As well as my regular production of paintings, drawings and sculptures, I collaborate with community groups and arts organizations on public art projects. Each of these works has a strong community development or outreach focus and serves to answer the needs of the participating partner.
I also work with other artists as we challenge one another to push our creative boundaries. Some of those projects are:
Nature Art summer day camp
For the past couple of years, I’ve been offering Nature Art Summer Day Camp… two weeks to connect with nature and use that environment to arouse creativity through art. The children and I spend lots of time exploring the forest, ponds and creeks around my studio. We take photos, sketch, paint, and collect interesting rocks from the streams and evocative forest materials that inspire art projects of all kinds. For many of the children, it’s a first-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really decompress and connect with quality time in nature, to recognize its beauty and to develop a sense of connection with that world. And for me? It’s that joyful moment when each child recognizes that personal connection and expresses it in an original work of art.
Field Station excursions
In 2017, I ran two excursions for Field Station, a Community Cultural Development public art project for transit riders and residents of the Tuscany, Royal Oak and Rocky Ridge neighbourhoods in Calgary, Alberta.
Both Faces of the Forest and Weaving Between the Trees offered interactive experiences for the public to connect with their local pockets of nature. With help of Jean Wallace, nature specialist, we created clay faces in the forest and weaving with natural found material. All in an effort to foster a sense of belonging and of stewardship for the nature that surrounds us.
Green Footprints Project.
The Green Footprints Project is a community based public art project supported by The City of Calgary Public Art program in partnership with Community Wise Resource Centre and the Arusha Centre.
The project had a large focus on cultural community development. In english, that means that the targeted community group was involved from start to finish in the process. It aimed to highlight the diversity and connections between user of the Old Y building and their relationship to this special building and it’s community.
We first interviewed the users of the building, asking them to trace their routes to the location and taking photos of their shoes. From that visual information, we created a piece of art that now hangs in the building’s lobby.
From the routes collected, we took to the streets and printed bio degradable footprints on the sidewalks leading to the building.
Finally, we invited the local community and the users to celebrate with us during a garden party where all could create planters out of second hand footwear. We partnered up with the Calgary Drop In Centre who donated footwear that did not find takers amongst the local homeless population.
It was super fun, every part of it, and we got to know some really fascinating and generous people amongst the users of the Old Y. Most renters being non-for-profits organizations that make a huge difference in people’s lives.
Les Grosses Têtes
The Big Heads project was coordinated by the CAVA gallery in Edmonton. Five francophone artists helped 4 schools built a series of Giant heads to be worn by students during festivals and school events. The artists are Doris Charest and Virginie Rainville in Edmonton, Étienne Grangé-Praderas, Sabine Lecorre-Moore and myself in Calgary.
Interactive Art – Silhouettes.
Patricia Lortie created an interactive installation for Alberta Arts and Culture days at the Cité des Rocheuses, Calgary. The intention is to animate a crow during a social gathering using art work that people intuitively relate to and want to interact with. The silhouette project is a series of wall hanging pieces each with a life size silhouette of a person cut into “stone” like back ground. Each silhouette encourages people to attempt a position by placing themselves into the cutout. The process encourages play and joyful discussion in the group gathered around.
The KOAC (KiyooKa Ohe Arts Center) is located in Springbank, Alberta, just west of Calgary. Their mandate is to promote contemporary art. Lortie as been working for their community outreach program creating an installation of sculptures with over a hundred students of the three local schools. This work was unveiled on September 8th, 2012 at the Springbank Fall Fair and than relocated on the site of the KOAC.
Dare To Dream Project.
Dare to dream sculpture project. Two sculptures where unveiled at the Cultural Olympiads, Place de la Francophonie, Vancouver, in February 2010.
This project emerged out of the artist’s desire to communicate intimately with others and to talk about our common humanity.
Through the fabrication and showing of two sculptures, Patricia Lortie-Sparks explores the dreams/aspirations and the fears of over 500 people who have agreed to share with us by answering the two following questions:
Sculpture #1: What are your dreams or aspirations?
Sculpture #2: What stops you from acting towards your dreams? Or, what did you overcome in order to advance towards your dreams?
The first sculpture honors people’s dreams, small and big. It is made of a bronze hand open and offering a fire like assemble of forged metal ribbons. On those ribbons are written (in French and English) a collection of dreams from people across Canada. The open hand allows for the expression of dreams that we often keep buried inside ourselves. This act of opening up is like permission we give ourselves to express our dreams as well as welcoming those of others.
The second sculpture talks about peoples inhibitors. Things like fears, habits and life situations preventing us from acting towards our dreams. It is made of a closed bronze hand that is trying to hold on to a variety of glass objects. Those objects represent a selection of inhibitors collected from people across Canada. Here, the closed hand is kept prisoner by its action of holding on and remains unavailable to open up to possibilities.
Exhibit at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics
The pieces where unveiled in February 2010 at the Place de la Francophonie, on Grand Ville Island, Vancouver, a branch of the cultural Olympics.
The artist was able to observe the impact of the sculptures on the public and is very happy to say that the work does reach people. They identified with it on a personal, often intimate level and where able to open up to the artist. Patricia cherish the memory of many intimate conversations with complete strangers who’s names she will never know. Strangers who recognize in this project our share humanity and our struggle to become who we wish to be in spite of our busy lives and ingrained patterns.
Calgary Cookie Chase.
Lortie’s son, Laurent Sparks was involved in a project celebrating Calgary 2012, the arts and culture capital of Canada. Him and two of his friends created a Youtube video involving a giant cookie being chased by the “cookie monster”. Lortie created the cookie costumes for them. The boys received a $1000 grant from the city of Calgary for this project under the “Awesome Calgary” program.