People Waiting sculpture restored, reinstalled in uptown Saint John

One of Saint John’s most iconic pieces of public art now has a new home in Market Square, the city announced Monday.

John Hooper’s People Waiting sculpture has now been installed in the uptown pedway, making the works accessible to the public.

Officials say it also provides protection from the elements.

People Waiting has been part of the public art landscape in Saint John for almost 50 years, having originally been commissioned by Canada Post back in 1975,” said Kate Wilcott, arts and culture coordinator for the City of Saint John.

“We knew they needed to be put back on display once restored, but we needed time to find the right location for them.”

The wooden sculpture, previously located outside at the foot of King Street, sustained significant damage in 2018 due to extreme weather.

It was placed into storage until it could be restored. The restoration was completed at Hooper Studies in Hampton.

Tandi Hooper-Clark, daughter of John Hooper, the artist who created the work, said the figures have undergone a transformation, with artist Darren Byers and other members of the Hooper family working to prepare the pieces for their new look.

“This involved replacing rotten bits, re-carving where necessary and then sanding to a paintable finish,” she said.

“We are thrilled to offer these pieces back to the public – where they can be enjoyed by many for years to come.”