Council Looks to Public Art

City to shape public art in Newcastle.

City of Newcastle is seeking community-minded art, design and architecture experts to help advise on the development of public art that reflects Newcastle’s history, culture and community.

Councillors voted to expand the expertise of the City’s Public Art Reference Group (PARG) by appointing five external members who are professionals in their fields, including an expert with Awabakal or Worimi Indigenous cultural knowledge and a specialist in heritage.

The PARG provides leadership on all aspects of public art, from advising on the commissioning of new art proposals to ensuring transparent commissioning processes.

Councillor and PARG Chair Carol Duncan said public art humanises urban spaces and the built environment. By expanding the PARG with external arts professionals, public art will continue to play a major role in the city’s transformation.

Art contributes to our wellbeing in public spaces, reflects our values as a community, and gives our spaces meaning and the opportunity to be unique. It provides opportunities for artists to create, for visitors and residents to enjoy, and to build an even greater economic contribution to the city by way of the value of our arts and cultural organisations,” Cr Duncan said.

Since 2018, the PARG has considered a number of public art proposals for the private domain related to development applications in the Newcastle CBD including the Seed Pod and Lyrique Lane Light Chandelier on Hunter Street, and Indigenous murals and native artworks on Hannel Street in Wickham.

PARG member Councillor John MacKenzie said a key focus for the group is public art associated with development applications.

Helping applicants meet the 1% public art contribution and ensuring those funds are spent on incorporating artwork reflective of Newcastle’s culture and heritage is an important role of the PARG,” Cr MacKenzie said.

Ensuring we plan a healthy funding stream for the commissioning and maintenance of public art in the city is also a core focus in order to maintain these public investments.”

PARG member Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said there is no shortage of artistic expertise in Newcastle to contribute to the advisory committee.

Newcastle is home to more artists per capita than any other city in Australia, and boasts a thriving creative arts hub,” Cr Winney-Baartz said.

I look forward to welcoming community-minded arts professionals and an Indigenous and heritage representative to the reference group and continuing to shape the future of public art for the enjoyment of the Newcastle community and visitors alike.”

Applications are now open and close 5pm, Sunday 17 October 2021.

To submit an Expressions of Interest form visit, City of Newcastle’s website.