Location: Shaw Conference Centre (east of entrance along sidewalk)
The six decorative screens appear to spell something but as you get closer the letters disappear. Wait, there they are again. In beautiful ammonite colours that, like Alberta’s provincial gemstone, seem to shift colours before your eyes, you can see giant letters that spell the word ‘DREAM’. Without obscuring the plaza’s face, the letters on the modularly constructed screens seem to swing gently as you walk by.
Artist Donald Moar created the DREAM.big Plaza as a celebration of modern-day artistic merit. Placing it in plain sight allows everyone to experience it first-hand.
Named for the Dreamland Theatre, the place where Moar’s father took him to see his first movie, it conjures the fascinating history of the theatre that once sat in the heart of Edmonton’s original theatre district on 97 Street and Jasper Avenue. The theatre opened in the silent movie era of 1910, and was renovated to update to “talkie” technology after 1929 and rebuilt again in a grand style in the late 1930s. By the 1970s, the Dreamland had fallen from grace, featuring double-bills of old westerns and sometimes even XXX movies. In 1974, the city purchased the Dreamland and it was torn down in 1979 to make way for the Shaw Conference Centre.
Regarding the installation’s unusual use of punctuation, Moar said: “The period at the end makes it like a command – to dream. I wanted to get the message out that you should dream. A city is built on dreams.”
City of Edmonton EA-10-657
Produced by: The Places – Art & Design in Public Places Program
Sources: Presences du Litteraire Dans L’Espace Public Canadien, Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton Journal
Photo Credit: Ester Malzahn
Source: Edmonton Public Library