Landmark art and cultural plan for Barangaroo announced

The NSW Deputy Premier and Arts Minister, the Hon Troy Grant MP, today announced a multi-million dollar investment in Sydney’s arts and cultural future that will confirm the Barangaroo precinct as a landmark in the nation’s cultural landscape.

16 July 2015 - The NSW Deputy Premier and Arts Minister, the Hon Troy Grant MP, today announced a multi-million dollar investment in Sydney’s arts and cultural future that will confirm the Barangaroo precinct as a landmark in the nation’s cultural landscape.

The Barangaroo Public Art and Cultural Plan establishes the framework for a bold investment in public art and cultural programing at Barangaroo, which will be fully funded and delivered at no cost to taxpayers.

The investment at the 22-hectare site on Sydney CBD’s western foreshore represents one of Australia’s largest suites of public art and cultural activity. The program is being delivered under the joint NSW Government and Lendlease Public Art and Cultural Plan for Barangaroo. The Plan provides a strategic framework for the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, Lendlease and Barangaroo’s future development partners to guide the commissioning and management of public art across the precinct.

Funding for the Plan will be provided through a levy by the Barangaroo Delivery Authority on its development partners, commencing with Lendlease as the developer of Barangaroo South. The levy is set at 1% of development cost, and can only be used for art and cultural purposes at Barangaroo. Total funding available from the levy will depend on the actual development cost, but is estimated over the 15-year life of the Barangaroo project to be a total of more than $40 million.

The Plan sets out nine priority public art and cultural programs to be delivered by 2020 at identified sites across the precinct at Barangaroo South, the headland park at Barangaroo Point Reserve, and Central Barangaroo. The Plan relates to the 11 hectares of public domain across the precinct and complements both the NSW Arts Create in NSW: NSW Arts and Cultural Policy Framework and the City of Sydney’s Creative City, Cultural Policy and Action Plan 2014-2024.

In launching the precinct’s Public Art and Cultural Plan, The Hon Troy Grant MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts, said: “Sydney is a great city, and history tells us that great cities are enhanced by public art and cultural activity. Barangaroo is one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country, and incorporating public art is an opportunity to respectfully acknowledge the site’s recent and ancient histories.

“West of the Bridge is growing into an incredible hub for the arts, with this significant public art initiative complementing the NSW Government’s redevelopment of the nearby Walsh Bay Arts Precinct,” said Mr Grant.

Most of the funding provided by the Lendlease levy will be allocated to seven pieces of permanent public art. There will also be a series of cultural activities such as artist-in-residence programs and civic events that, along with world-class architecture and design, will establish Barangaroo as a cultural destination for all Australians as well as international visitors.

Andrew Wilson, Lendlease Managing Director of Barangaroo South, said the delivery of public art will transform the precinct into a vital new expression of the city. “Barangaroo is a once in a generation opportunity to build something truly special, and this investment will enhance the site’s public spaces to promote tourism and bring the community together. The scale of the development and the natural beauty of the site present an opportunity for art, artists and culture on a scale unprecedented in Australia,” he said.

Gabrielle Trainor, Chair of the Barangaroo Arts and Cultural Panel and a member of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority board, said: “Barangaroo has a rich and diverse history. The Public Art and Cultural Plan reflects this by bringing together the traditional with the contemporary, Indigenous tradition with national tradition. Artists nowadays are early and indispensable creative contributors to great new places – to the fabric of new office and residential towers, and to new public spaces.

“Good public art, whatever the medium – and whether permanent, durational, large scale or almost imperceptible – enriches places for people. Artworks can trigger the imagination, tell a story, make us happy or simply render things beautiful,” said Ms Trainor.

The first public art commission for Barangaroo is also announced today. The work is a collaboration between Bidjigal/Eora elder and senior artist Esme Timbery and Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones, and was as selected from five shortlisted proposals. The artwork will be located on the southern facade of the Alexander residential building at Barangaroo South and is intended to act as a gateway along the waterfront promenade, Wulugal Walk.

The commission has provided a significant opportunity for the two local artists to develop a visually and culturally engaging work that reflects the culture of the Traditional Owners, the Gadigal/Eora people, overlayed with the more radical changes brought about by the contemporary city of Sydney.

The Alexander building artwork will celebrate the shell-work tradition of La Perouse and the contemporary practice of Esme Timbery. It will be constructed with multiple 10mm-thick aluminium panels creating the entire 22.35 x 3.5 metre artwork wall. Each panel will be decorated with a combination of larger-than-life cast or folded aluminium shells welded to the screen adjacent to their corresponding cut-out shell shapes on the panel.

Lendlease’s Andrew Wilson said the artists’ approach is a continuation of traditional knowledge and connection to country: “It will also reinforce a sense of place among modern architecture and will be the first of many artworks at Barangaroo that will challenge, inspire and influence the community.”