Public Art

Pause, Reflect, and Connect

Public art projects act as a bridge between the past, present, and future, celebrating rich heritage and an ambitious vision for what lies ahead. Each piece tells a story, whether it highlights the connection to the natural world, cultural history, or collective aspirations. By fostering a diverse and dynamic art scene, everyday spaces are transformed into places of inspiration and contemplation, enriching the lives of both residents and visitors. This approach invites everyone to explore the world of public art, where each work is an opportunity to pause, reflect, and connect.

float em garden

Completed Art Projects

With a blend of support including funding, donations, and passionate community-driven projects, Tofino breathes life into public art, transforming our environment into a canvas of expression and connection. This dedication has brought to life many captivating public art projects across our beautiful landscapes.

As you wander through Tofino, take a moment to engage with these artworks; they're not just pieces to admire from a distance but invitations to delve deeper, feel, and connect with the heart and soul of our community.

ČIINUŁ (Totem Pole) By Joe David

Location: Third Street, Anchor Park
Installed: September 7, 2018

public art totem anchor park joe david

ČIINUŁ (Totem Pole) By Joe David

This čiinuł (totem pole) has been carved by Tla-kish-wha-toa in honour of the ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ (Tla-o-qui-aht) Ha’wiih (Hereditary Chiefs.)

Joe David carved and gifted this čiinuł  to the community of Tofino on September 7, 2018. 

The figure at the top of the čiinuł is the thunderbird with lightning snake wings and sun on its stomach. Below is a humpback whale with an enlarged blowhole featuring a face. The bottom figure is that of a four-year-old girl. 

The main figures are crests of the ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ. The thunderbird is lifting the whale out of the ocean representing the Ha’wiih of the past. The blowhole face represents the living Ha’wiih, and the child at the base represents the future generations to come.

Tofino Float'em Garden by Pete Clarkson

Location: Third Street, between Main St & Campbell St
Installed: June 2018

public art pete clarkson floatem garden

Tofino Float'em Garden by Pete Clarkson

Tofino Float 'em Garden is constructed from some of the most commonly found debris. Based on coastal cleanup data, fishing, aquaculture and shipping are responsible for 30% of all ocean plastic. Recent studies at sea suggest this may be even higher. Lost or discarded 'ghostnets' alone account for 46% of the total mass of debris within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

As fishing, shipping, and aquaculture intensify, it is crucial to mitigate this significant ocean plastic source.

The Float 'em poles are formed from fishing floats and buoys. Fish floats and buoys comprise a large percentage of the marine debris found around the world. It is a sad irony that fishing and aquaculture, industries that depend on healthy oceans, are responsible for so much plastic pollution.

The Float 'em Poles are an allegory that we are "fishing down the food web," systematically targeting species at ever-decreasing trophic levels. Each float represents a different species along the spectrum, from the largest apex predator to the tiniest primary producer. Together they symbolize the unsustainable demands we are placing on the totem of marine life.

Artist Bio

Pete Clarkson is a self-taught artist widely recognized for his marine debris sculptures, installations and assemblages, which he's been creating since 2000. His art is on permanent display at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Vancouver Aquarium, Ucluelet Aquarium, and Tofino Botanical Gardens and has been featured at the Globe Conference 2016, the International Summit of Marine Debris 2016 (Japan), and the Maritime Museum of BC (2014). Pete is a long-time national park warden and proud ambassador for Ocean Wise and Surfrider Pacific Rim.

Street Art Project by Tuff City Art Underground

Location: Tofino Community Hall
Installed: January 2019

public art tuff city underground

Street Art Aquatic Project by Tuff City Art Underground

The extensive marine-themed scenes depicted on the generator celebrate the unique marine biodiversity of Clayoquot Sound. The art has hidden animals throughout, encouraging viewers to follow the tidal flow to discover them all. These characters reference the underground West Coast street art culture, which depicts small animals going about their business in local communities.

Artist Bio

Tuff City Art Underground is a group of Vancouver Island youth who periodically collaborate on art, music, and performance. The following artists were involved in this work: Arwen Anderson, Zac Eggert, Ava Law, Ellie Law, Josephina Law, Vanya Law & Kate Waddell.

First Light by Daniela Petosa

Location: Tofino Community Hall
Installed: January 2019

public art Daniela Petosa

First Light by Daniela Petosa

First Light encapsulates that fleeting moment when the day is in transition, waking from dark night, and still dreamlike, quiet and serene.

The work combines clay, foam, resin and fibreglass cloth in this mixed-media installation. Each tile was hand-cut and uniquely glazed to highlight the array of magnificent tones of sunrise.

The clouds were created to add a surreal lightness to the work and give a gentle nod to the surfing community throughout Tofino. The soft curves of the clouds were obtained using surfboard templates, originating from late 1960s California board designs and were then finished using traditional surfboard building materials and techniques.

The combination of light and weight in this piece, both in materials and feeling, merge to capture the tranquil and transitory feeling at daybreak.

This piece is dedicated to Dorothy Baert to acknowledge her service, thoughtful leadership, unwavering commitment to sustainable development and advocacy for the arts in Tofino.

Artist Bio

Daniela’s fascination with clay began nearly two decades ago in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, where she first learned traditional wheel techniques at the Instituto Allende Art College.

Her work is currently on display throughout Tofino, including at Shelter and the Wickaninnish Inn. Her passion for interior design, evident in her custom mixed-media installations, has captured a worldwide audience.