Byron Shire’s roundabouts, toilet blocks and water tanks would be adorned with colourful, contemporary sculpture, mosaics and murals under a public art strategy to go before the council today (Thursday).
The ambitious strategy – developed by council staff with input from the community – proposes nearly a dozen such projects across the Shire, including an indigenous-themed installation at Bangalow Weir, a sculpture at the Bayshore Drive roundabout, and water tank murals or mosaics at Patersons Hill, Bangalow, Ocean Shores and Wategos.
‘The policy aims to position Byron Shire as an arts and cultural centre of Northern NSW with vibrant, contemporary public art through a program that reflects the unique character and life-style of the region,’ the report’s authors state.
‘Council recognises that high quality public art has the ability to enhance public places and spaces. It can also add immeasurably to a community’s sense of place, contribute to civic identity, address community needs, and activate public spaces.’
The authors of the report have drawn inspiration from some of the country’s most iconic public art installations, including the Quandamooka Wynnum Jetty Art Project, Moreton Bay, and the Broken Hill sculpture park.
To reach such lofty heights, the strategy proposes pooling available financial resources such as developer contributions and grants into a savings fund that ‘gradually accumulates over me to a level where relatively high quality and bigger projects can be commissioned’.
‘Given that the average delivery period for an art commission is 1-2 years in planning and implementation, this will allow sufficient time to accumulate project funds, while project planning begins,’ the strategy states.
The authors say that, like other ‘smart councils’, Byron could ‘leverage development to generate public art’.
The repair of existing public artworks are already on the agenda.
Among the list of sites slated for a fix up are the much-loved totems at the entrance to Mullumbimby, and the mosaic roundabout in Byron Bay at Jonson and Lawson Streets.
Guiding thee repairs, along with the selection of newlocations and the type of art to be introduced would be a public art panel, made up of councillors and members of the community.
Nominations have already been made for the membership of this group, but council is keeping their identities a secret until after today’s meeting.