City Hall scoops up Soapbox permanently

Cost to be covered by special fund and not taxpayers

An art piece on display in downtown Barrie is about to become a permanent fixture.

Barrie Council tentatively approved a move to purchase outright the work Soapbox, after leasing it from the artists since 2017. Soapbox was one of five pieces of art leased by the City with private funds, as part of its Canada 150 celebrations, but has since decided the work by Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg should become a permanent resident of the City Hall courtyard.

While the piece has been valued at $30,000, City Hall would only spend half that to acquire it permanently; when the original lease was drawn up, the artists agreed to lease it to the City for $5,000 a year with payments going towards the potential purchase of the work. Now that the City has already contributed $15,000 over the past three years, the piece would come at a lesser cost. A special fund created in 2015 would cover the cost with no impact on taxpayers’ bottom lines.

Soapbox by Chris Hanson and Hendrika Sonnenberg was initially chosen for “its durability, ease of maintenance, and because it represents the fundamental Canadian right to freedom of speech.” according to a report issued by city staff.

Feature image courtesy City of Barrie via Facebook.