Vancouver Park Board reconsiders 'Dude Chilling Park' sign in Mount Pleasant
City staff are recommending that a fake park sign (inset) be returned to Guelph Park where it was planted in 2012. (Main: CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS & Inset: PHOTO COURTESY OF VANCOUVER PARK BOARD)
The 2012 removal of an artist's unauthorized “Dude Chilling Park” sign in Mount Pleasant was reversed at Monday night’s Vancouver Park Board meeting, with all but two commissioners voting to return it permanently.
Viktor Briestensky's fake city sign was originally set up in Guelph Park, but since its removal has garnered near-unanimous support in public consultations.
“It's obviously overwhelming folks want it back in that spot,” Vision Vancouver commissioner Sarah Blyth said. “It was a good-intentioned, fun art piece left in a park.
“When people walk by and see 'Dude Chilling Park,' it makes them smile – it's something different that speaks to a generation.”
Briestensky's parody alludes to a statue of a person seated on a bench already in the park. Blyth said the park will officially retain its original name.
“We took it out because the park already has a name, Guelph Park,” she added. “But parks get nicknames, this doesn't change the name of Guelph Park but adds something to it.”
One Non-Partisan Association commissioner questioned how an unpermitted art installation was approved, warning it could encourage “vandalism.”
“I think the sign's a great idea, it's fun, and it would have been fantastic in a community garden or museum of some sort,” said Melissa de Genova. “But we have to respect the history of Guelph Park – it's already been named.
“We shouldn't be rewarding vandalism of a park by putting it back, it'll encourage everyone to rename parks by putting signs in them.”
De Genova insisted she had no issue with the words of the sign, but the process.
“They should have come before the park board to have it displayed as public art,” she said.
Blyth said no installation avoids public consultation.
“Just seeing something that makes people smile is worth it,” she said. “There's a lot of stress living life in the world today, and what other city has a Dude Chilling Park?”
At least 22 parks remain nameless, and Blyth hopes to encourage “fun” public engagement in naming them.