6,000 ceramic baby crows prepare to take flight for Vancouver International Bird Festival

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      A massive community art project to craft 6,000 ceramic baby crows is finally ready for its fledglings to leave the nest.

      Artist and Emily Carr University of Art + Design professor Cameron Cartiere has been leading the workshops for the As the Crow Flies project for months, all to mark not only the Vancouver International Bird Festival, but the massive 27th International Ornithological Congress, both happening here August 19 to 26, with the latter bringing in an expected 30,000 visitors.

      All the artworks are numbered and meant to represent the total flock that commutes between Vancouver and the Still Creek Rookery in Burnaby each day--a familiar sight in the skies over the East Side. They're also aimed at raising awareness about the infant mortality of baby crows, which is above 50 percent, and the fact that they are threatened by loss of biodiversity, climate change, and urban sprawl. 

      The massive art project has been run through chART Public Art, a long-term research partnership between the community of Marpole and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, headed by Cartiere.

      Geoff Campbell


      If you're having trouble imagining the scale of the project, imagine that all the clay birds not only had to be crafted by community members but had to dry, be hand-dipped in black glaze, and then loaded into the kilns for a slow firing.

      Cartiere and her team will be perching their creations at events and community centres throughout town during bird fest and the congress, and anyone from the public can take one home. Below, find out where you can help them take flight:

      Geoff Campbell

       The ceramic crows will show up at On the Wing animation events:

      • Monday, August 20, 9:30 p.m. in MacLean Park (710 Keefer Street)
      • Wednesday, August 22, 9:30 p.m. in Queen Elizabeth Park
      • Friday, August 24, 9:30 p.m. at Arbutus Greenway (57th and East Blvd).

      They'll also be ready to take flight at community centres during the fest:

      • Tuesday, August 21, all day at Strathcona Community Centre and Creekside Community Centre
      • Wednesday, August 22, all day at Mount Pleasant Community Centre
      • Thursday, August 23, all day at Hillcrest Community Centre, 4575 Clancy Loranger Way and the Oak Park Field House/Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre