Greater Geelong Public Art Strategy - Part A

Part A of the Greater Geelong Public Art Strategy: Connecting People, places and environment deals with Vision.

A framework for activation, creativity and expression

Framework 1 is built around the following three outcome areas:

Outcome Area 1: Activation - creating unique and vibrant places

Public art has key role in connecting people and place. Artworks within the public realm can function as a type of connective tissue, generating awareness of our interdependence with the environment and the community. Public art has a recognised role to play in place activation and contributing to the enhancement of spaces in towns and cities. A vibrant and attractive place is also a welcoming place that people will want to spend time in.

Outcome Area 2: Creativity – generating a ‘creative milieu’

Art in the public realm involves practices of creativity and innovation in an environmental context. Creativity and innovation are also central to the notion of sustainability. For a place to be sustainable, it must be both resilient and flexible, having a deep sense of purpose in its design and robust in its construction, while being open to interpretation for a range of evolving uses and engagements. Sustainability is an ongoing ‘cycle of success’ which has social, cultural, economic and environmental dimensions.

Local government is in an ideal place to support and foster creative environments that will be conducive to creative endeavours such as public art in its many forms. Inherent in the notion of a “creative milieu” is a willingness to nurture activities that are at times unexpected, challenging and even confronting. Indeed a culture of experimentation and innovation requires a willingness to take risks and push boundaries.

Outcome Area 3: Expression – giving voice to people, place and environment

Artists are creative thinkers, innovators, story-tellers and symbol makers. Through the process of public art, artists can be invited to think about and engage with a specific place, site, history, issue, community and the environment. The resulting public artwork can communicate not just an individual’s private response but reflect wider significance, meanings held in common, and thereby enter into public discourse as well as interacting with physical public space.

Public art in its many forms, can play a vital role in providing a platform for both individual and community creative and cultural expression. Due to its highly public nature public art that is site specific and rich in local context can create a strong sense of place and communicate civic pride to visitors and residents alike. The involvement in creative processes has recognised community wellbeing and social cohesion outcomes.

Outcome Area 1: Activation – creating unique and vibrant places

Goal 1 To initiate, partner and support the commissioning of artworks that contribute to the development of a unique ‘sense of place’ or that enhance the public realm.
Action 1.1.1 The Arts & Culture Department liaise across relevant Council departments to advocate for and identify opportunities for the integration of art into infrastructure, open space, parks, streetscape and other relevant capital works projects.
Action 1.1.2 Commission artists and artisans with the appropriate skills and experience to work on Council’s Capital Works projects to integrate unique artistic interpretations and narratives around culture, heritage, environment and place, through quality infrastructure, streetscapes, parks, urban renewal and environmental regeneration projects.
Action 1.1.3 Work with the private sector to advocate for the integration of original works of art into development projects that contribute to both the development project and to the overall quality of the public realm.
Goal 2 To activate public spaces by providing and curating a series of both physical and digital ‘platforms’ in public spaces across the City that can feature a programme of changing artwork.
Action 1.2.1 Provide permanent ‘platform’ infrastructure such as ‘Art Billboards’, digital projectors, light boxes and display cases.
Action 1.2.2 Research and support the establishment of digital ‘platforms’ for public art programmes that explore innovative concepts and new forms of audience interfacing.
Action 1.2.3 Develop a curated programme of changing artworks for the ‘platforms’ that commissions and encourages artists to create challenging temporary and ephemeral contemporary art.
Action 1.2.4 Provide opportunities for artist initiated ideas for ‘Platform’ projects to be realised through partnerships with Council.
Action 1.2.5 Work with Council’s Graffiti Unit to continue investigation and establishment of opportunities for ‘platforms’ catering for temporary and experimental aerosol art.
Goal 3 To support and facilitate a greater level of artist and community initiated projects in the public realm.
Action 1.3.1 The Arts & Culture Department to liaise with relevant arts sector individuals and community groups to advocate for artist initiated proposals for art interventions in the City’s public spaces.
Action 1.3.2 The Arts & Culture Department should become the point of contact for artists and community groups wishing to undertake projects in the city and establish processes for the smooth facilitation of required processes and permits.

Outcome Area 2: Creativity – generating a ‘creative milieu’

Goal 1 To support and nurture a culture of creativity and innovation within Council’s urban and open space planning, delivering and managing teams.
Action 2.1.1 Encourage interdepartmental partnerships/networking between the Arts & Culture Department and other departments to ensure creative activities and public art are integrated into urban planning outcomes
Action 2.1.2 The Arts & Culture Department liaise with other Council Departments to identify public art opportunities in proposed projects and ensure its inclusion at the concept planning and budget bid stage.
Action 2.1.3 Establish opportunities for the Arts & Culture Department to engage artists within Council departments to provide staff exposure to innovative ideas and creative thinking for the planning of projects and programme delivery.
Action 2.1.4 Develop a regular programme of opportunities for artists to discuss their ideas and case studies of completed public art projects with Council staff from across the organisation. For example lunch time Artist Talks.
Action 2.1.5 Identify strategic opportunities and support the engagement of leading art professionals to collaborate with design teams on visioning exercises, major architectural and urban design projects in line with current world’s best practice.
Action 2.1.6 Work with Council’s Graffiti Unit and the City Aerosol Network (CAN) to continue identification of appropriate opportunities for aerosol art projects and ensure the projects delivered in the City’s public places are of high quality.
Goal 2 To support and nurture an environment that encourages creativity and innovation across the full range of public art practice.
Action 2.2.1 Develop a culture of effective, innovative and plentiful art projects in the public realm that challenge social and environmental assumptions as an accessible means of debate and exploration of ideas.
Action 2.2.2 Explore and foster the development of a culture of progressive public art practice that engages with current dialogues in ‘cutting edge’ contemporary art, through partnerships with research and educational institutions, arts festivals, other cities and galleries.
Action 2.2.3 Provide opportunities for established artists to create artwork in the public realm that is significant in the context of their career and contributes to the development of a high quality and diverse public art collection that positions the municipality as a creative region.
Action 2.2.4 Identify opportunities for temporary artworks and events in public places that utilise a range of art practice including digital media, lighting, projection, legal street art, and interdisciplinary practice.
Goal 3 To initiate, partner and support programmes and practices that help build both the cultural and creative capacity and the economic environmental sustainability of art practice related to Geelong’s public realm.
Action 2.3.1 Support the professional development of young and emerging artists to be experimental and challenging both conceptually and technically through a programme of managed risk taking on small scale Council projects and by providing opportunities to work with a ‘lead artist’ in a mentoring role.
Action 2.3.2 Advocate for the tertiary education sector to provide specific professional development programmes tailored to the needs of artists developing skills in public art practices and investigate opportunities for Council to work with tertiary institutions to provide opportunities for small scale experimental artworks in public places through their curriculum.
Action 2.3.3 Engage skilled artists and artisans to create integrated artworks and street furniture for streetscapes, park and civic building infrastructure.
Action 2.3.4 Encourage the use and promotion of environmental best practice in all art projects in the City of Greater Geelong’s public realm.

Outcome Area 3: Expression - giving voice to people, place and environment

Goal 1 To initiate and support art projects in public places that involve storytelling and personal histories of the City’s people that can be enjoyed by the community and visitors.
Action 3.1.1 Continue to gather aural histories and people’s stories of life across the diverse communities of the Geelong Municipality as a collection in its own right, as a knowledge bank resource to be drawn upon in the future and also as a direct basis for public art projects.
Action 3.1.2 Work with new arrivals and the multicultural community to explore opportunities for commissioning public art works that tell their stories of journeys and settlement.
Action 3.1.3 Work with interested community members who wish to see significant people or events celebrated in memorials and explore the potential for artists to interpret the stories in innovative and contemporary artforms.
Action 3.1.4 Promote awareness, understanding and acknowledgement of the Wathaurong people, the area’s first inhabitant’s story, whilst supporting engagement with their living culture through the commissioning of contemporary Aboriginal Art in public spaces across the municipality.
Goal 2 To support the development of connections across the Municipality’s diverse communities and environments through the preservation of memory and respect for individual interpretation and expression.
Action 3.2.1 Provide opportunities for artists to investigate and interpret local heritage and environments, through contemporary art practice, that contribute to the development of interpretive trails and signage across the Municipality.
Action 3.2.2 Work with artists to explore the potential of using new technologies and social media as a public art medium and as a networking opportunity for the promotion and sharing of public art knowledge and experiences.
Action 3.2.3 Build connectivity between communities, cultures and regions across the Municipality by developing programmes for presentation and discussion about art projects in public places that explore the relationships between ‘people, place and environment’ to foster development of new project initiatives.
Goal 3 To initiate and support art projects that contribute to place making across the city and suburbs, coast, country and industrial environments.
Action 3.3.1 Identify and commission artists to create (large and small) stand alone artworks that provide opportunities for the community to engage with and consider the meaning of art in the public realm.
Action 3.3.2 Identify opportunities for artists to work with and within the community as a creative interpreter of community stories, ideas and aspirations into contemporary public art outcomes.
Action 3.3.3 Seek to commission artworks that celebrate places of cultural significance to both Aboriginal and non-indigenous cultures through exploration of histories of place and spatial identity.
Action 3.3.4 Require artists creating public art to consider the appropriateness of their concepts for diverse audiences including intergenerational and intercultural.

A framework for delivering, resourcing and preserving

Framework 2 is built around the following three outcome areas:

Outcome Area 4: Delivering – planning and managing

Successful public artworks not only rely on the imagination and creativity of the commissioned artist but depend on the early identification of opportunities, extensive preplanning and securing funding and approvals before an artist is brought into the project. Once an artist or artists have been selected and engaged to develop concepts many management and approval process come into play to ensure appropriate procurement procedures are addressed. Management processes continue through to the final fabrication and installation stages beyond the point when the artist hands over the artwork to Council. Crucial to this management requirement is the role of a Council Public Art Officer in the Arts & Culture Department, who can work across the organisation, build partnerships with the private sector and other levels of government and be the key liaison point for the arts community.

Outcome Area 5: Resourcing – providing for people and projects

Public art in the City of Greater Geelong, along with the standard of quality urban development in the City, has reached a level of sophistication that requires projects to be not only well conceived and managed but also requiring sufficient resources and funding to deliver a high quality outcome. It is therefore a preferred option to develop a balanced programme of public art projects including encouraging and advocating for the private sector and other levels of government to commission quality public artwork for their projects and to become partners with Council on projects in the public realm.

Outcome Area 6: Preserving – maintaining and conserving

Through the amalgamation process the City of Greater Geelong now has a large collection of public artworks as an asset insured for approximately $13.5 million. As with any other Council asset, artworks require regular maintenance to ensure they do not deteriorate to a point where they need major and expensive conservation work, or reach a condition that the cost of conservation work cannot be justified and the work is therefore removed. It is also important to acknowledge that Council will become the owner of an increasing number of artworks included in public spaces transferred as a result of residential developments across the Municipality.

Outcome Area 4: Delivering - planning and managing

Goal 1 To provide robust and effective planning, management practices and structures to all Council initiated and delivered public art projects.
Action 4.1.1 The Arts & Culture Department to manage Council initiated public art projects and to provide a point of contact and advocacy on public art related matters.
Action 4.1.2 Establish an internal Public Art Working Group [PAWG] of relevant Managers to meet twice a year and consider potential future opportunities and review completed projects and their community benefits.
Action 4.1.3 Establish a Public Art Advisory Group [PAAG] that comprises both internal and external members. The PAAG would provide Council with considered advice on aesthetic assessments of potential art opportunities, proposed artists and developed artist’s concepts.
Action 4.1.4 Establish a Public Art Technical Review Group [PATRG] made up of relevant officers with skills in relation to issues of public risk and asset management. The role of the PATRG would be to provide advice at key stages of a public art commission on the relevance of the design from a technical perspective.
Action 4.1.5 The Arts & Culture Department to prepare, with interdepartmental consultation, a Public Art Priority Plan to focus and guide development of the City’s collection of art and programme of activities in the public realm for a period of ten years.
Action 4.1.6 Provide project management assistance to the Capital Projects Department to ensure the efficient delivery of public art commissions integrated into Council’s capital works projects.
Goal 2 To support and partner with the private sector to ensure the commissioning of high quality and conceptually relevant public art on private development projects across Geelong.
Action 4.2.1 Develop an advocacy package for distribution to potential private sector partners that sets out Council’s aspirations for the role of public art as a contributor to community development and enhancement tool in achieving the best urban design outcomes with a focus on creating a sense of place.
Action 4.2.2 Integrate public art guidelines into future Suitable Communities – Infrastructure Development Guidelines document.
Action 4.2.3 Prepare a Developer’s Manual for public art that provides guidelines for approval processes associated with planning permissions for projects involving or required by Council to have commissioned public art. Guidelines would specifically relate to projects where the artwork would be transferred to Council ownership.
Action 4.2.4 Engage with private sector developers who commission public artwork to record and publicise the projects to acknowledge the value of their contribution to the quality of the public realm and place making in the Municipality.
Goal 3 To support and facilitate art interventions in public spaces that help to build on the vitality of the City and showcase the creativity of the public art sector.
Action 4.3.1 Designate the Arts & Culture Department as the “one-stop-shop” for enquires regarding processes and permits required to stage an artist initiated intervention in a public space.
Action 4.3.2 Encourage interest in staging artist initiated interventions and performance based work by undertaking an audit of the city and identifying potential sites that Council controls and can provide permits for temporary interventions in places such as laneways and underutilised or forgotten city spaces.
Action 4.3.3 Compile the audit information into an Interventions Guidelines Manual that includes details of suitable sites and guidelines to the required processes and permits.

Outcome Area 5: Resourcing – providing for people and projects

Goal 1 To provide adequate human and financial resources to effectively deliver on the stated goals of this Public Art Strategy.
Action 5.1.1 The Arts & Culture Department to manage Council initiated public art projects and to provide a point of contact on public art related matters.
Action 5.1.2 Establish an appropriate budget mechanism/s for delivery of the Strategy including maintenance of the existing public art assets and to commission new integrated artwork in significant and other relevant capital works projects.
Action 5.1.3 In collaboration with the relevant Council Departments, the PAWG, PAAG & PATRG the Arts & Culture Department review progress of the Public Art Priority Plan delivery and establish a proposed programme of activities for approved Council projects and initiatives.
Action 5.1.4 Submit funding proposals for temporary public art projects and professional development activities through the annual budget bid process.
Goal 2 To seek funding for public art projects and sector development programmes from potential government, business and private sources.
Action 5.2.1 Build on established relationships with State and Federal Government funding bodies to expand opportunities for public art projects and opportunities for artists to explore projects designed to build community connectivity through creative endeavour.
Action 5.2.2 Develop partnerships with the Victorian State Government to leverage funding support for public art initiatives in relation to major infrastructure, new growth areas and infill developments.
Action 5.2.3 Work with the private sector to consider options for the development of a Public Art Contribution Scheme or percent for art on development costs that would support future commissioning of art in key precincts across the City.
Action 5.2.4 Develop criteria for the acceptance of gifted existing artworks and encourage philanthropic donations to a central Public Art Trust Fund for the commissioning of artworks with clear community benefits.
Goal 3 To establish the resources required to build artist and audience participation in research, debate and discourse that raises community appreciation of public art.
Action 5.3.1 Build on established relationships with State and Federal Government funding bodies to expand opportunities for the funding of new technology programmes designed to support research, public knowledge and debate about contemporary public art practice.
Action 5.3.2 Work with the local media to generate informed and meaningful public engagement regarding art in public places and its contribution to the activation of place, highlighting the creativity of the City of Greater Geelong and giving expression to the community’s stories and histories.
Action 5.3.3 Support the development of online resources and access to a data base of information regarding the City of Greater Geelong’s Public Art Place Collection.
Action 5.3.4 Facilitate, provide or partner with community, artists or arts organisations and the tertiary sector to resource regular public art events of online forums to provide opportunities for debate and discourse.

Outcome Area 6: Preserving – maintaining and conserving

Goal 1 To ensure that Council has an accurate and effective asset management system for recording and assessing its public art collection.
Action 6.1.1 Maintain an accurate and up to date asset register detailing all known public artwork in Council ownership.
Action 6.1.2 Undertake an annual assessment and cleaning programme which establishes the condition and maintenance requirements of all existing public artworks on the asset register.
Action 6.1.3 Undertake an audit and assessment of the cultural and community value of works requiring costly conservation work to establish the appropriateness of continued expenditure as opposed to the options of removal.
Goal 2 To establish best practice processes for the future asset management of new commissioned artworks.
Action 6.2.1 Develop processes that require a maintenance and conservation review of all proposed public art at the concept stage and where relevant at key milestones throughout the design development and fabrication stages.
Action 6.2.2 To develop a Public Art Maintenance Manual format, in association with the asset managers, to ensure it covers all future information requirements to provide an acceptable level of preservation.
Action 6.2.3 Make the provision of a suitably detailed Public Art Maintenance Manual a condition of the hand over and final payment at the completion of a commission.
Action 6.2.4 Ensure that all Public Art Maintenance Manuals are collated and accessible for reference during future condition assessments and planning of maintenance programmes.
Goal 3 To raise awareness of the City of Greater Geelong’s public art collection and the values that public art can contribute to people and place.
Action 6.3.1 Support a programme of public art marketing and promotion to inform and educate residents and visitors about the City’s Public Art Collection.
Action 6.3.2 Initiate an award programme that acknowledges high quality private developer public art projects and the contribution they make to the community and the public realm.
Action 6.3.3 Facilitate public information and educational opportunities through events such as project related artist presentations (floor talks).
Action 6.3.4 To make available the public art collection records for research and educational purposes.
Action 6.3.5 Determine the best methods to measure the value, contribution and significance of public art to the community and the cultural profile of the municipality.

Connecting People, Place and Environment

A public art strategy for the City of Greater Geelong


Page last updated: Friday, 20 December 2019