The council’s draft annual plan will go before councilors on Monday, April 4th. It details the budget for work on the Fowlers Road bridge, the $2.2 million carbon tax refund and the $101.55 million to be spent on more than 350 capital works projects in 56 suburbs.
Recently, the new public art strategy, Animating Wollongong, was proposed by Council, communicating how public art has the central ability to embrace physical and social/cultural dimensions via encouraging residents’ engagement. The draft details the importance of extending knowledge and familiarity of the local environment through artwork.
In 2014, Council Cultural Development Manager, Sue Savage, said council budget for public art stood at $250,000, with $200,000 allocated each year for the following two years. Megan McKell, Council Cultural Services Coordinator, said that although council are unsure of the specific budget for public art in 2016, they are anticipating that “when capital works are doing projects, public art will be embedded within the program.”
McKell is also hoping that the community embraces public art as an essential aspect of the environment, when plans are being made for new projects and developments in Wollongong’s city. She says “we are hoping to get an idea from the community about how important they think public art is”
As part of the Bald Hill upgrade works, five public art projects are to be integrated into the site. Three of these public art displays will identify the Indigenous heritage of the site. “For us that’s a really positive sign that there’s large projects happening that have public art dollars attached within that budget.” McKell said “So there’s already a budget identified within that larger capital art project for public art.”
One distinctive feature of the art strategy is to explore the fluidity of Wollongong and embrace the changing parameters of public art. The strategy draft described Wollongong as currently on the edge of transformation. Recent public art activity has been defined by its ability to be more temporary, flexible and participative.