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Calgary's Blue Ring

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

The travelling light in Calgary seen from the north end.
The blue ring in Calgary

The Travelling Light was created by an art team based in Berlin, who have over 50 projects around cities worldwide.

The sculpture in Calgary, Alberta, forms a large window that displays the downtown core when seen from the north. Not only this, it helps form a new identity to 96th Ave NE when you drive past it on Deerfoot Trail.

The artists wanted to appeal to all visual interests of the viewers, so they chose to go with a simple and clear design that everyone would understand.

The plaque on the Blue Ring in Calgary

The plaque reads as:


(Hans Hemmert, Axel Lieber, Thomas A. Schmidt, Georg Zey)

Travelling Light, 2013

painted steel, light structure

This site specific sculpture examines and brings to life the theme of movement. Its simplicity lends it a universal character that triggers various poetic associations.

Commissioned by the transportation department through the city of Calgary public art program. P2013.001.001

An up-close view of the ring.

The overall cost of the ring was around $470,000, with all the construction coming from local contractors. The idea of the project came from a City of Calgary initiative to increase local art and culture within the city, as they have many other projects around the city. 55 submissions came in worldwide, allowing any interested artist to submit an idea.

Unfortunately, many citizens have not appreciated the art, as the Google reviews of the piece are met with many one star reviews or higher rated mocking of the sculpture. This thought is also shared with the Mayor, Naheed Nenshi, as he believes it is 'awful,' but still enforces the idea that art is subjective.

Although the Travelling Light has received much backlash from the citizens of Calgary, the idea of the capturing the downtown core through the ring makes for a great image. This can be difficult to capture, or even look for, as they placed it on the north side of 96 Ave NE, so when you look through it, all you see is a barren view of a field. Had they placed in on the other sidewalk, if you looked through, you could see the sightline of the core.

A long view of the sidewalk to get to the blue ring
A side view of the ring.

The other shortcoming of where it is placed, is in fact, its location. It can take over 15 minutes to walk to it from the closest parking, and in 30°C heat, it can make the walk feel much longer.

Overall, this piece of art came with good intentions, but since this was an open application to the world, it is possible that the artist's idea for this project didn't fit the idea of public art of the citizens of Calgary.

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