Photo courtesy CK Public Health

Creative, colourful bike racks to decorate CK

Some colourful new bike racks will be popping up across Chatham-Kent, all of them designed by CK residents.

On Monday, Chatham-Kent Public Health announced the six winners of its bike racks art project. In March, CK Public Health put out a call for design submissions of bike racks that would double as art installations. There will be one bike rack placed in front of five various Chatham-Kent Public Library locations and one placed in front of the Civic Centre in Chatham.

Caress Lee Carpenter, community outreach and public relations officer for CK Public Health, said they received around 40 submissions from all ages, walks of life and design capabilities.

A review panel composed of art and culture professionals, cycling stakeholders and municipal representatives were responsible for selecting the winners. Besides selecting designs that reflected Chatham-Kent’s culture and heritage, Carpenter said they also factored in the story behind the design.

“It wasn’t just the design they had to submit, they had to tell us a little bit about themselves, their background, why they would like to see their piece in the community,” she explained. “We really gravitated towards some of the stories, what they thought Chatham-Kent needed, what they thought Chatham-Kent was all about.”

The winning pieces include a dinosaur, sign language hands spelling out the word “books”, a row of crows, rainbow hearts, a nod to agriculture and a crow collage. Besides their design coming to fruition, each of the winners will receive a $1,000¬†honorarium. The creator of the rainbow hearts submitted their design anonymously. According to Carpenter, they asked that their honorarium gets donated to the CK Gay Pride Association and submitted a heartwarming story with their application.

“They said they had a family member that had come out and they had done that once they left Chatham-Kent. They wanted to see more signs of love and that sort of thing in the community so they submitted the design and said they would like the money to go to the CK Pride Association if they were a winner,” she explained.

Carpenter said they are currently looking for someone to bring the designs to life and there is no set timeline for when the bike racks will be installed.

“Because they’re going to be so visible in the community we wanted to go with a really high-quality fabricator who would be able to get the job done well. I guess you could say we’re in phase two of the process. We’ve selected the winner and now we’re going to be looking at the build and installation,” she said. “We are choosing to go with the fabricator that would be most capable so we would be working from their timeline and when they’re able to do the build and design. As soon as we have more inforamtion the community will know about that.”

Carpenter said overall the contest was a great experience and she is hopeful that the municipality will do similar initiatives in the future.

“I think it really helps with some tourism initiatives and even just living here. having something a little cool, unique and different that serves a purpose,” she said.

You can view the winning designs below.