Above: Lurking behind the roadway signage is a work of public art, but you need to park and get out of your car to appreciate it (below left). Bottom: the approach to the roundabout from the opposite direction.
The Town Council has received $120,000 over three years to develop an arts and cultural policy and fund a program of works.
In the first year, the money will go to a consultant who will “work with the community” to develop the policy, according to Councillor Jade Kudrenko, chair of council’s Public Art Advisory Committee. She says the committee have been debating whether the consultant should be a local or external.
The policy will ultimately include a Cultural Plan and a Public Art Master Plan, which in the following two years will have $40,000 pa to put towards implementation.
This could be good news as council’s forays into the public art domain have often had good intentions marred by poor implementation or unthinking interventions. Past examples that spring to mind are the solar light installed in the Gathering Garden, the ‘Big Books’ signage at the entrance to the Town Library, and the plaque placed bang in the middle of the Rainwater Reflection Pan in the ‘revitalised’ Todd Mall. The latest is the installation of Dan Murphy’s lizard sculpture on the roundabout at the intersection of Undoolya Road and Sturt Terrace.
A roundabout is a piece of road infrastructure, most directly engaged with by drivers. As you approach this roundabout in a car, driving outbound on the Wills Terrace causeway or inbound on Undoolya Road, the sculpture is scarcely visible behind the roadway signage. Its impact is thus lost to the majority of its potential audience.
Will a policy though be able to forestall this sort of thing? Will a policy be able to instil forethought, aesthetic sensitivity and common sense?