Art & About Welcome Reception

(11am 22 September 2011, Lord Mayor's Reception Room Sydney Town Hall)

Thank you, Rod, and welcome, everyone. I would like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, and I pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.

I would also like to acknowledge Councillors.

Above all, I'd like to offer a special welcome to the artists - who are the reason we are here today. It's a pleasure to have you here.

Micheal Landy - Acts of Kindness - Martin Place (UK)*

Liane Rossler & Heidi Dokulil - Happy Talk - Hyde Park

Leo Robba & Tony Papp - Contested Landscapes - Customs House Forecourt

Michael Killalea & Sarah Barns - Unguarded Moments - Millers Point

Philippa Playford - Art & About @ The Tote - Green Square

Janet Echleman - Tsunami - George Street (USA)*

Heidi Axelson, Adriano Pupilli & Hugo Moline - Laneway Art

Rebar Studio - Laneway Art (USA)* & Curated by Amanda Sharrard & Justine Topher

Magda Sayeg - Laneway Art (USA)* & Curated by Amanda Sharrard & Justine Topher

Barry McGee - Laneway Art (USA)* & Curated by Amanda Sharrard & Justine Topher

Brook Andrew - Laneway Art & Curated by Amanda Sharrard & Justine Topher

Isidro Blasco - Laneway Art (USA)*

Ten years ago, the City of Sydney launched its first Art & About Sydney program. Today, it has grown in range and importance to become one of the best-loved events on the Sydney calendar.

It is a expression of Sydney's rich creative spirit, bringing art, performance and music to our streets and public spaces and - importantly - to people who might never venture inside a gallery.

This year, two simple words - What If? - underpin our festival.

An impressive total of 434 artists will work across our City centre and City villages to address that theme.

It's our biggest and most ambitious program and we're excited to have international artists working alongside our own local artists - a collaboration which will enrich the work of both groups.

In 2011, we've made public art a focus with the launch of our public art strategy and website that includes important actions to recognise Aboriginal culture and heritage in our city's public spaces.

Our commitment to collaboration and a diverse and exciting late-night economy is very much part of this year's program, with the Art Gallery of NSW, the Powerhouse Museum, the Museum of Sydney, the State Library, the Australian Museum and our own Customs House at Circular Quay all open for our launch tomorrow night.

Thank you to Gill Minervini and all the City staff who have worked so hard to make this 10th anniversary Art & About a real milestone event. I wish you all an enjoyable time.

(* denotes that they're a visiting international artist)