The Winnipeg Arts Council has envisioned artwork for Broadway for many years while the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has also worked for years toward creatively lighting the avenue. These two visions have come together in heaven between, the first permanent light-based sculpture for Broadway. Artist Bill Pechet notes that the dome shape of the new piece was inspired by the rooftops of significant buildings on the boulevard. Framed by the domes of the Legislative Building at one end of Broadway, and Union Station at the other, the artwork is patterned with cut out silhouettes of elm leaves. This intricate design casts light on the ground while reflecting the trees that line the street, planted over one hundred years ago by visionary city-makers.
With support from the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
Thank you to suppliers Parr Metal Fabricators; OB1 Contracting; Control Electric; Dyregrov Robinson Inc; Crosier, Kilgour & Partners; SMS Engineering; Scatliff + Miller + Murray for making this project a success.
heaven between speech by bill Pechet, opening reception, November 21, 2016:
"Thank you very much for such a warm reception.
This piece is called HEAVEN BETWEEN and many people have asked me where the title came from
… The title is really meant to be more of a question than an answer…
What does the word between mean?
Is this something between sky and ground?
Is it between light and dark?
night and day?
Is it between the legislature and the train station?
Or just something between 2 poles?
The answer is…all of those things and more!
Now, why HEAVEN ?
Across cultures, the sky above is often thought of as heaven,
and the sky-vault is often called a dome
this dome is a kind mandala made from elm leaves (these trees populate the boulevard) ….a reference to the idea that we can find depictions of heaven on earth, sometimes within the seemingly random shapes of tree branches and also through perfect geometries….so when one looks at the outside of the dome, the assumption is that the perforations are somewhat unorganized, yet when one passes underneath, and looks up into the centre, they coalesce into a perfect radiating pattern
As you will see in a moment there is a candle-light within the dome
Across cultures, the eternal flame is a symbol of safety, warmth, and as a conduit to the dreamy world of meditation and spirituality
For me, the city of Winnipeg is a place with a very deep soul…my grandparents are buried here and, as I walk around I often sense the after-images of their stories and the city’s role as a place where people came and still DO come from all over the world to find some peace and a future for their families.
Particularly these days, with the upsetting condition of the political situation down south, we must remember that Winnipeg, founded by peoples from all over the world, does reinforce the idea that we can live together (…of course, it is not perfect, and there are lots of inequities evident, but at least we TRY)
So I wanted to give the city of Winnipeg a little piece of heaven to light a cold dark night or shade a hot summer’s day, to welcome everyone
Finally, the reason for lifting this artwork off the ground was in order to preserve the very beautiful long boulevard views on Broadway….one of the finest examples of urban design in Canada.
My wish is that this piece, this heaven between, becomes a well-loved thing AND space for the city of Winnipeg."