New Temporary Art Project follows dynamic changes of the Millstone river

Curtis Grahauer’s Temporary Art Project, Millstone unveiled in Bowen Park


Visitors to Bowen Park will be able to immerse themselves in a new temporary public art project revolving around the Millstone river. The City of Nanaimo Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture recently unveiled local artist, Curtis Grahauer’s Temporary Art Project, Millstone. An interactive media project, Millstone consists of six films accessed using personal devices and QR codes found on signs located throughout the park, strategically placed following the path of the river. Millstone can also be accessed online at, where visitors will find an interactive map illustrating sign locations.

The artist spent a year documenting the progressions and ongoing transformation of the Millstone River as it courses through Bowen Park. Filmed in a variety of dynamic locations, the project captures the life of the river as it ebbs and flows, in a constant state of transformation. Those long-term observations are compressed into shorter form in Millstone, highlighting subtle changes in the surrounding environment that might otherwise be overlooked, and asking observers to consider evidence of human intervention in the environment. “What qualifies as the unnatural in nature?” the artist asks. Meaningful understanding requires that visitors slow down and reflect in quiet contemplation.

Millstone is an intimate, immersive experience wherein one considers urban ‘wild’ spaces through a new lens. Often, when one pictures public art, an image of sculpture mounted in public space comes to mind. This project, which was artist-led and informed by changes in the local environment, broadens dialogue about art in Nanaimo, welcoming new audiences to film as an art form and offering a local park care and creative attention.

The City of Nanaimo’s Temporary Public Art Program has supported art in public spaces for over a decade. Artists can propose artworks that vary in scale, scope and medium, including temporary sculptural installations, social practice and community engaged artist projects and artwork that is integrated into landscape, architecture or civic infrastructure. Information on the City of Nanaimo’s Temporary Art Program can be found on the City’s website at

An artist talk with Curtis Grahauer discussing the Millstone project, will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Black Rabbit Kitchen in the Attic, as part of Nanaimo Artwalk 2023.

Link to Strategic Plan: Culture is recognized as a significant contributor to the city’s quality of life; Make arts and culture visible and accessible throughout the city; Recognize that public art is situation at the intersection of public art and create memorable spaces and experiences, provide a sense of place, and reflect the environment and history of the community; Public art that is accessible and freely available to everyone throughout the community to experience and enjoy, and incorporated into trails and unexpected places.

Key Points

  • An interactive media project, Millstone consists of six films accessed using personal devices and QR codes found on signs located throughout Bowen Park (Nanaimo, BC).
  • Millstone will be available for visitors to experience through 2026 and be accessed online at
  • The City of Nanaimo’s Temporary Public Art Program offers artists of diverse backgrounds and skill sets the opportunity to create artwork for public spaces in Nanaimo.


"What an extraordinarily special thing it is to experience art by a talented local artist while enjoying the beauty of one of our local parks. Next time you are in Bowen Park, I hope you’ll seek out this unique public art project and appreciate discovering art in unexpected places just as much as I do."

City of Nanaimo

"I am interested in the perception of nature through the lens of human intervention. By making a film that compresses a year of Millstone River’s transformation, I hope to demonstrate what I refer to as the ‘super unnatural’, to reveal the sometimes subtle influence of humans within the naturalized landscape. As a document of the Millstone River, 'Millstone' explores the idea of nature being inextricable from human intervention."





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City of Nanaimo

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