A new bus stop in Montreal will include a 64-foot-tall, Ferris Wheel–shaped art installation that cost the city a cool $840,000. For blatantly obvious reasons, many Quebecois aren’t thrilled about that—in no small part because the expensive art project is in a part of Montreal that is struggling to combat poverty.
CityLab reported that the sculpture, called La Vélocité des lieux (the Velocity of Places), is part of a larger reconstruction of an intersection that is set to include a park, bus rapid transit, and new housing. The wheel was designed by BGL, a Quebec City–based art collective, that was dubbed “Canada’s Art-World Class Clowns” by Vox, and more recently represented Canada at the Venice Biennale.
The trio of so-called class clowns won a competition to design the art piece for the intersection in 2012
When the wheel is completed in September, bus frames will zip around its circular frame as a gesture toward the bus stop below.
In a statement, BGL said the installation embodies “dizziness, playfulness, [and] community spirit.” But right now at least, the community is pretty mixed on the project.
In an interview with Montreal CTV, one local resident praised the wheel saying that it would help put Montreal-Nord on the map, but many others have said the money spent on the wheel should have gone toward schools, roads, and social programs.
Chantal Rossi, a city councilor for Montrea-Nord, defended the controversial project, saying that the area deserves public art just like anywhere else in the city. “The people will be proud of it,” she said.