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Ballarat best-in-class model for public art

A new Public Art expert panel could see Ballarat become internationally recognised for its public art collection.

The recommendation to move from an advisory committee to a panel of up to 12 identified specialists will allow the City of Ballarat to respond to proposed public art programs with tailored and expert advice, alongside the experience and knowledge of the City’s own Public Art team.

A decision to devolve the current Public Art Advisory Committee and establish an expert panel will be voted on at Wednesday’s Ballarat City Council meeting.

The City of Ballarat currently allocates $110,000 annually to public arts projects.

The current collection carries a wide range of pieces that help detail different moments in the community’s history, and represent political, social and cultural high points.

Each of the more than 100 pieces tell a story of what kind of world the people of Ballarat were experiencing at a specific point in time. The new approach to the public art collection will focus on treating the pieces just like an open-air gallery, through commissioning, curation, maintenance and conservation programs.

The collection has been identified as being hugely significant to the City, in economic, artistic and heritage terms. The Creative City Strategy team is working to assess, document and conserve existing pieces. This is in addition to continuing to identify new pieces that resonate for the City, improving ways for the community to suggest and be involved in the development of art works.

The application of the recently approved Creative City Strategy permits the City of Ballarat to work towards a best-in-class model for public art selection and design, particularly with the support of an expert panel.

The preference would be for Ballarat-based specialists to provide advice in specific areas:

  • First Nations advice
  • Placemaking advice
  • Architecture/landscape advice
  • Artistic advice
  • Curatorial advice
  • Conservation/collections management advice

However, where specific additional expertise is needed, members may be recruited from other areas and regions.

The total panel would be a minimum of 10 members available for recruitment to a range of public art project working groups, with three to four panel members on each project.

Panel members may be recruited for up to five years.

The current Public Art Advisory Committee was established in 2010 to support the Public Art Master Plan progress.