Florence Carlyle Sculpture Commission

Florence Carlyle Park sign

May 2, 2023, marked the 100th anniversary of the death of artist Florence Carlyle. On May 6, 2023, the Woodstock Art Gallery held a community event to celebrate the dedication of Florence Carlyle Park and launch a call to artists for a public art commission. The intent of this project is to recognize Carlyle's importance, both to Woodstock and to the development of Canadian art. 

The shortlisted artists and artist teams were Michelle Cieloszczyk and Holly Jo, Marlene Hilton Moore, Duane and Urszula Kumala-Thomas, Petra Matar and Amy McIntosh.

Duane Urszula Kumala-Thomas' proposal, BIRD SET FREE, was selected by the public art committee following consultation with the community. The sculpture is expected to be installed by 2025.

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

Government of Canada wordmark


Artist Statement

BIRD SET FREE draws inspiration from Carlyle's beloved nickname, “Bird.” The central theme revolves around the juxtaposition of confinement and freedom, combining three components: a bird, a birdcage and a corset.

Fabricated with a blend of historical and contemporary materials by Baird Machines, the sculpture promises to be a captivating testament to Carlyle's influence and advocacy for inclusivity, while inviting visitors to explore its intricate design and engage in meaningful reflection. BIRD SET FREE promises to inspire and provoke conversation for generations to come.

View the artists’ website for additional renderings and information.

Rendering of sculpture BIRD SET FREE
Rendering of sculpture BIRD SET FREE

Rendering of sculpture BIRD SET FREE

Material details of Bird Set Free

About the Artists

Duane Kumala-Thomas was born and raised in Woodstock. His work explores concepts concerning multiculturalism and perspective. He is inspired by artists such as Salvador Dali and Gustav Klimt.  Through the exploration of contrast, Duane deconstructs norms to re-present familiar ideas in unique ways.

Urszula Kumala-Thomas was born in Poland, grew up in Woodstock and is a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts Honours program from the University of Guelph. Influenced by the likes of Käthe Kollowitz and Gustav Klimt, her unique artistic style and creative expression are shaped by her diverse cultural influences and academic background.

As husband and wife, Duane and Urszula co-own Highlander Studios. As parents of two, they had the honour of raising their family in the same home Florence Carlyle grew up in.

Duane Kumala-Thomas

Photo Credit: Urszula Kumala-Thomas

Urszula Kumala-Thomas

Photo Credit: Duane Kumala-Thomas

Shortlisted Artists and Proposals

Michelle Cieloszczyk and Holly Jo

Proposed Sculpture: Like Moths, We Dance

Like Moths, We Dance was inspired by a vision of local historic painter Florence Carlyle and her partner Judith Hastings, dancing together in radiant joy and love. The pair, represented by two gown fragments, twirl and frolic around the hearth-like glow of a lamp. The forms are reminiscent of the petals and pistil of a flower, composing a garden that indulges in delight, beauty and growth. Captured in a state of motion, the configuration speaks to the cyclical nature of social progress and the migratory patterns of queer folks who have travelled across Ontario in search of community.

View the artists' website for additional renderings and information.

Rendering of sculpture Like Moths, We Dance

Rendering of sculpture Like Moths, We Dance

Rendering of sculpture Like Moths, We Dance at night

Oil painting of a woman lounging on a sofa

Florence Carlyle, The Moth, 1910, oil on canvas, 61.9 x 74.6 cm, McIntosh Gallery Collection, Western University, Bequest of Wilhelmina Morris McIntosh, 1940

About the Artists

Michelle Cieloszczyk is a visual artist with a BFA in Sculpture/Installation from OCAD University. Her practice has garnered the support of five awards and nine grants. She has exhibited at galleries and public spaces across Ontario. Her first public artwork, CAN, was commissioned through the FCR Sculpture Competition.

HollyJo is a queer sculptor and the owner/lead instructor of The Kiln Room Ceramic and Art Studio in Woodstock. She holds a BFA in Sculpture/Installation from OCAD University, where she graduated with distinction and received the Won Lee Fine Art Award. She has exhibited in solo and group shows regionally.

Michelle Cieloszczyk

Photo Credit: Andy Maticorena Kajie

Holly Jo

Photo Credit: Jeff Tribe

Marlene Hilton Moore

Proposed Sculpture: The Mentor

Florence Carlyle was a significant mentor for the women of her time because of her professional approach to being an artist and living freely as a lesbian woman. 

The proposed artwork consists of a violet flower, a lesbian symbol, ten feet in height, with a portrait mask of Florence Carlyle as the nucleus of the violet. She was the nucleus of two powerful movements and the creation of a realistic portrait adds to her tangible presence in this time, connecting my art to her art.

The sculpture will be enhanced by a garden of perennial flowers, gifted from Woodstock gardens.

Rendering of sculpture The Mentor

Rendering of sculpture The Mentor

About the Artist

Marlene Hilton Moore has defined a distinctive profile in Canadian visual arts marked by outstanding achievements in the complex arena of Public Art and Monuments. She also has an extensive public exhibition schedule of solo and group exhibitions with a focus on the stereotypes that pressure women in today’s society.

Marlene Hilton Moore

Photo credit: Fred Poyner

Petra Matar and Amy McIntosh

Propose Sculpture: Still Life and Bird

Still Life and Bird pays homage to Florence Carlyle, affectionately known as “Bird.” Inspired by the calm beauty and serene domestic scenes depicted in her paintings, this piece intertwines nature and a familiar scene through the lens of a Victorian-style window frame, inviting the community to experience the park’s beauty from a unique vantage point. At the heart of this work is a curious scene: a quaint table, teacup, chair and a robin, as a nod to Carlyle's memory. Drawing from childhood stories like The Secret Garden, we aspired to create a setting in nature that evokes discovery and imagination, while welcoming all visitors to reflect and weave personal narratives within this living still life.

View a 3D rendering of the sculpture.

Rendering of sculpture Still Life and Bird
Rendering of sculpture Still Life and Bird
Rendering of sculpture Still Life and Bird
Rendering of sculpture Still Life and Bird

About the Artists

Petra Matar, an artist and architect, immigrated to Canada in 2011, settling in Hamilton. She is a principal at DPAI Architecture. Her dual roles allow her to express her inner world through art and shape a better outer world through architecture. Petra's work has been showcased in Supercrawl and various group and solo exhibitions in Hamilton, Dubai and Sharjah.

Amy McIntosh, an artist originally from Embro, Ont., draws on her rural roots in her artistic practice to create mixed media, sculptural and installation works using natural materials, found objects and video. Her work explores the intricate relationships between place, time and memory, intertwining archival research, histories and personal narratives to reflect on our interconnected environments.

Petra Matar

Photo Credit: Sofia Zavarella


Amy McIntosh


Contact Us

Mary Reid

© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7


Phone: 519-539-1291
Email: General Information

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