(6.30pm, Friday 21 September 2012, Martin Place)
Thank you, Robbie [ Buck, MC] . Hello, everyone, and welcome. I acknowledge the original custodians of our land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, and pay my respects to their Elders, both past and present, and I acknowledge the people of the 200 nations who live in our City.
I welcome City Councillors and also give a warm welcome also to our sponsors:
- The Sydney Morning Herald
- 2Day FM
- Sydney Sofitel Wentworth
- The Menzies Sydney
- Event Infrastructure and
- The Sydney Bus Museum
- and our charity partner, World Vision, who are collecting here tonight for the famine appeal for West Africa.
You help make Art & About not just possible, but also the great annual celebration of art that it has become. Thank you.
This is our 11th year of taking art, music and performance out of the white cube and into the streets and public spaces of Sydney. It's a great reminder that art is indeed for everyone.
2012 is our biggest and most ambitious program to date. The Banner Gallery features 500 banners designed by Analiese Cairis. They explore our festival theme of In Colour and were developed in collaboration with John Kaldor, director of Kaldor Public Art Projects.
There are also Friendly Billboards which will pop up with cheeky messages; a modest suburban house with a surprising interior; the always-fascinating Sydney Life photographs in Hyde Park; art in the laneways and city spaces - and a great deal more.
The four weeks of Art & About show-case the vital Sydney arts scene - but of course it's happening all year round, and we are now developing a comprehensive cultural policy that will guide us in supporting creativity as part of Sydney 2030.
We've also recognised the role played by the arts in an inclusive and sustainable after-hours economy that offers experiences for everyone. Tonight is a great example of this, with our cultural institutions, our launch presenting partner Modular, and our new food trucks all combining to present Friday Night Live to you.
Many of our Art & About installations can be enjoyed after dark - whether it's a walk through the 3D projections in Hyde Park South, or a nostalgia trip here in Martin Place with a recreation of the great Hotel Australia.
Tonight, many of the city's major cultural institutions have joined the party with late night openings. Use the free shuttle buses to visit them.
I'm also excited to tell you about our closing night event - A Moveable Feast. We're taking cars off George Street for a one-off Saturday night of food trucks, music and film on Saturday October 20. It'll be a great night, so see you there!
Now a very warm thank you to all the participating artists, galleries and organisations, and to the City of Sydney Events Unit and our Creative Director, Gill Minervini, who have worked so hard to bring this fabulous program to you.