New art piece set for BMH foyer

Posted on April 28, 2016

Art and engineering intersect in collaboration with Queen’s students


AN INTERSECTION: Toronto artist Kwest is working on a new piece for the foyer of Beamish-Munro Hall. “The commonality between art and engineering is the creative spark required in every project,” he says.

The foyer of Beamish-Munro Hall (BMH) is the front door and welcome mat, reception area and anteroom for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) at Queen’s. It represents our best foot forward and sets the tone for time spent here by visitors.

This is where prospective students and families are greeted during open house events. It’s where visiting academics, industry leaders and funders are received; where alumni reconnect at Homecoming and a space through which Queen’s engineering students pass and linger countless times over the course of their training.

BMH Foyer

A PERMANANT DISPLAY: There is presently a large promotional banner on the facing wall in the BMH foyer. It will be replaced later this year with a new art piece designed by Kwest in collaboration with Queen's engineering students.

This year the foyer is getting new impact in the form of an art piece for installation on the atrium wall immediately opposite the entry doors. It will be the first thing people see on their way into BMH and it’s being designed and built by a prominent Toronto artist in collaboration with FEAS students.  

Kwest built his name in his teens and 20s as a graffiti artist whose complicated and compelling tag style popped up across the continent. As urban art grew into a mainstream aesthetic movement, Kwest turned more to sculpture and began earning important commissions. He has in recent years produced pieces for multi-platinum recording artist Drake and as the visual centres for many restaurants, offices and creative spaces. Now he’s accepted the commission for the installation in the BMH foyer.

Kwest collaboration

COLLABORATION: Queen's engineering students brainstorm ideas with Kwest, April 5, for the new art piece for BMH.

For two days in April, Kwest collaborated with Queen’s engineering students who entered and won the Make Your Mark: Art and Engineering Contest. Together they sought inspiration at the Queen’s University Archives and Agnes Etherington Art Centre as they collaborated on design for a piece that reflects Queen’s engineering through Kwest’s signature visual style.

“For a lot of public art calls you submit ideas and all the work falls to you,” says Kwest. “Being able to create a piece with the students who actually go here and know what this place is about is one of the things that really appealed to me about this project. We’ll be creating a piece that’s timeless in its appearance. Twenty or 30 years down the road, it will still carry significance to engineering and to the school.”

And it’s that legacy, that stamp on the building to last long after graduation that appealed to many on the collaboration team.  

“I’m just so proud of our work on this,” says engineering student Gabrielle Hinch. “Being part of something that’s going to be part of the building for however long is just amazing. We’re putting our stamp here at Queen’s and everyone is just so open-minded and has different attributes to bring to the table.”