The Wollongong art scene is set to receive a boost after the release of the Council’s new public art strategy. Animating Wollongong aims to promote high quality public art in new developments around the city.

This means developers may need to incorporate public art into building projects to secure council approval.

The guidelines place priority in supporting ideas and talents to help deliver public art. The art will display Wollongong’s diversity, with a strong emphasis on culture and urban design.

“The document provides a framework for public art for the city as well as a process for big developers to have a public art component, Wollongong City Council’s Community and Cultural Development Manager, Sue Savage said:

Council said the strategy was identified as a priority in the 2014-2018 Wollongong cultural plan. The guidelines discuss public art siting, governance, funding and public/private partnerships. The annual public art budget is about $200,000.

“We started developing this strategy because we wanted to ensure that our public art program can have social outcomes,” Ms Savage said.

“We want people to understand that public art does also have economic outcomes and is valuable to the community.”

Last year, Wollongong City Council ran a survey to find out what art forms should be installed throughout the city. Residents were asked to rate how important public art is and what they would like to see. Today, a survey of students at the University of Wollongong found more than 80 per cent agree there was a need for art to be integrated in streets and buildings. Students also said artists need more exposure and this provides the opportunity to do so.

“I think that how a location looks plays a massive part in both locals’ perception and how tourists see an area. I think these kinds of art projects are things that can really help take some of the stigma away that seems to follow Wollongong around,” Wollongong student Jacob Pittolo said.

One of the next steps of the strategy is to set up a public art committee, where experts in the field and community members can have their say and contribute to the process from the beginning. The chnage are set to take place from July.