See-saw? Bus bench? It’s all that, and a $30K piece of Vancouver public art

SeeSawSeat, a public art installation at Sunset Park.
SeeSawSeat, a public art installation at Sunset Park. City of Vancouver

Try to catch a bus along East 51st Avenue in Vancouver, and you may find yourself coming across a see-saw where a bus bench should be.

In reality, it’s both. And it’s also a public art project that cost more than $30,000 to install near the Sunset Community Centre.

“SeeSawSeat” was created by Germaine Koh, the City of Vancouver’s artist in residence.

You can sit on it, you can play on it, just like any old see-saw.

The point of the project is to encourage people “not just to talk, but to engage and work together,” said a city news release.

“Waiting for the bus is transformed from a passive pause into a modest social activity,” it added.

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“SeeSawSeat” is one of three public art projects that have been created through the Main Street Urban Transportation Showcase (UTS), a series of projects that have been commissioned along the corridor.

The cost to install “SeeSawSeat” was $30,580 in total. That included concrete footing and the installation of rubber surfacing, as well as other features such as its base, bench and bumper fabrication, signage and documentation.

It was equally funded by the city, by Transport Canada and by TransLink.

Koh, a visual artist, often focuses on the “significance of everyday actions, familiar objects and common places,” said a city spokesperson.

She previously served as artist in residence at the Elm Park Field House through the Vancouver Park Board Field House Residency Program.

As part of that program, she developed a project known as “League” in which people were invited to play made-up games in order to practise “creative problem solving in public space.”

READ MORE: ‘Should I Be Worried?’ — the $100,000 question that Vancouverites paid for

This is far from the first striking project to be installed around Vancouver by artists in residence.

Former artist in residence Julian Langlois installed a neon sign along False Creek that read, “Should I be worried?”

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The sign cost $100,000 to install.