New public art for our city

Three spectacular new works will be added to the City's public art collection following a unanimous Council decision on Monday night.

Youngsters, two bronze sculptures created by Caroline Rothwell for this year's City Spaces temporary art program will be permanently retained in Barrack Street.

Always Was Always Will Be, Reko Rennie's stunning art installation on the former T2 building in Taylor Square will remain for up to two years, to coincide with the timing of external works to the building. Always Was Always Will Be was installed as part of the City's temporary Streetware program.

Both have been strongly embraced by a community. The success of Art & About and other contemporary art shows including the 2012 Biennale of Sydney, Sculpture by the Sea and Kaldor Public Art Projects show Sydney has a growing appetite for art that isn't confined to galleries.

In 2009, another temporary public artwork, Forgotten Songs by Michael Thomas Hill, strongly resonated with the community who requested that it be retained. The work, in Angel Place, commemorates the songs of birds gradually forced out of the area by European settlement.

Council also unanimously supported retaining the Elizabeth Street Gallery Project, a collection of over 40 high quality photographs showing Sydney street life, recently installed by a group of Sydney's leading photographers on the drab wall beneath the Goulburn Street Parking Station without the City's approval.

When the works were unveiled, I asked the Chief Executive Officer to leave the photographs in place until Council could consider their future.

Sydney has many spaces and buildings which could be improved and even transformed with the intervention of artists, as these photographs demonstrate. The test for determining whether their creations deserve a permanent or long term place should be: does it enrich the space, make it more welcoming or make it better?

Council agreed with me that these three art projects met this test.

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