Downtown Kelowna’s dolphins may get much of the Instagram love, but it’s hardly the only place to find great public art at the Okanagan’s largest hub. Situated among the lush grounds and neat vineyards at Mission Hill Family Estate, proprietor Anthony von Mandl has been steadily amassing an eclectic outdoor collection.
While certainly adding to the estate’s appeal as both tourist attraction and local destination, Mission Hill’s outdoor sculptures can be enjoyed free of charge during open hours. It’s an example of the winery’s dedication to pairing the wine they make with an overall enjoyment of the setting, utilizing different aspects of arts, music and cuisine.
Von Mandl’s artsy passions trace back to his European roots and is evident in the type of sculptures on display. Every couple of years, Mission Hill plays host to an extravagant art exhibition centred on one particular artist. In 2014, the winery welcomed Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir’s large-scale work; three years earlier, it was France’s Nathalie Decoster with over 50 sculptures. While most of the pieces go back after the exhibit, a few stay at the winery as permanent fixtures.
Here are five public art pieces for you to stumble upon during your next visit:
1. The Bell Tower
The most photographed part of the winery is also a stunning work of art in its own right. Standing 12 storeys tall and visible as guests approach the winery, the Bell Tower, with its lightning rod and pelican-inspired weathervane, is taken from the von Mandl family crest.
2. The Keystone
This massive set of curved arches mark the entrance to Mission Hill, and it’s all held together by a single Keystone. Look closely – like the Bell Tower, the Keystone also features images from the proprietor’s family crest.
3. Space Time
Another by Nathalie Decoster, this one’s located right by the winery entrance. It’s a 2010 piece in steel and bronze, and like much of the artist’s work, is rooted in the outdoors.
Encounter is one of the most iconic sculptures at Mission Hill, by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir. Nestled at the base of the Bell Tower, the figure leans on a base of Icelandic granite at an impossible angle.
Another Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir sculpture, this one is a life-sized aluminum figure sitting in a 17th Century Renaissance fountain. Find this tranquil spot at Mission Hill’s courtyard.