Art plays an enormous part in the life of any great city. It can engage and stimulate people, it can provoke both thought and action, it can add depth, texture and meaning to the urban experience.
The City has a strong track record of delivering iconic and engaging public art, both temporary and permanent, including Youngsters on Barrack Street, Forgotten Songs in Angel Place, In Between Two Worlds in Chinatown and Always Was Always Will Be on Flinders Street.
To ensure Sydney has the highest quality public artworks that draw people into the city and help promote Sydney as a cultural and creative capital, the City established the Public Art Advisory Panel (PAAP) - a group of seven highly-recognised specialists.
As part of the $1.6 billion transformation of George Street to improve the city centre for residents, workers, businesses and visitors, the City has been consulting with the community on a public art strategy since 2011.
Council is currently considering options for new public artworks in and around George Street, after receiving nearly 700 proposals from 25 countries. From a shortlist of 10, PAAP has unanimously selected three of those artworks for final approval by Council.
Council will vote on approval of the artworks next Monday 28 July. Until then, the details of the tenders must remain confidential to protect intellectual property, and ensure a corruption-free process. ICAC is very clear about confidentiality relating to tenders. These rules are also reflected in tendering guidelines for NSW Local Government.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts when the concept designs are unveiled on Tuesday morning. All three projects will be subject to any necessary development applications and heritage approvals, during which time the artists' work will be exhibited for public comment.
The development of the artworks is expected to take three to seven years, and will be timed to align with the NSW Government's Light Rail Project.