Art in Placemaking

As Sydney’s weather cools with the advent of Autumn, many great public art initiatives and festivals will appear in and around the city area to warm our souls and inspire our minds. There is no excuse for staying locked up in your living rooms. Join the flurry of activity surrounding art in the public domain and you will appreciate how art can powerfully create a sense of place, draw people together, build community, civic pride and a wonder about the extraordinary works that designers create for our enjoyment.

On a recent trip to Switzerland we were delighted to see public art in the centre of Zurich being used to reinforce the rich cultural traditions that quintessentially define your experience of place and all things Swiss. Cow motifs and statues were common place throughout the city of Zurich, adorning residential balconies and high street stores- a seemingly odd image for a city characterised as a world class business and trade centre. However on closer inspection, the cows symbolise the prosperity of dairy trade for the country as well as a civic pride in Swiss farming tradition.

One such farming tradition is the annual movement of cow herds to the high pastures of the Alps, where the cows graze in the fresh mountain air, eating a summer diet of nutrient-rich grasses and enjoy space to roam. As the weather cools the cows are herded down the alpine pastures to the valley villages and are greeted with a grand celebration by the townspeople of the villages passed on this journey. For this celebration, the cows are dressed in floral garlands and decorative bells and accessories. Click Here to read more about this tradition.

Public art is not always connected to a cultural tradition or to an economic initiative, however it does powerfully evoke a sense of arrival and meaning to a place. An article by John Spayde ‘Public Art and Placemaking’ in the Public Art Review reinforces how art creates meaningful places as well as exploring the ability of art to aid economic and community development, attract young, affluent “creative class” professionals and create beauty however it is perceived. Click Here for more information.

Urban Concepts is excited to take part in the public art events to be held in Sydney in the upcoming months. Below we have listed a few of our highlights:

The Sydney Contemporary Art Festival – March 2014

This month, the Sydney Contemporary Art Festival kicked-off which includes a host of group and collective art shows, small exhibition spaces, and a number of topical art tours and talks.

To see more on these events, Click Here.

SafARI 2014 Exhibition ~ 14 March – 4 April

SafARI was created in 2004 to provide international visitors in Sydney for the Biennale of Sydney an opportunity to experience alternative venues. SafARI’s aim is to highlight the little known and often inaccessible venues that are the breeding ground of future creative generations.

At a time when Sydney hosts its most important international visual arts event, SafARI augments the dynamism of the visual arts landscape by reminding us of where it all begins and pays homage to grassroot initiatives. Curated by Liz Nowell and Christiane Keys-Statham, SafARI 2014 comprises two major exhibition components being SafARI and SafARI LIVE. SafARI will present the work of 14 emerging and unrepresented Australian artists, including 3 collaboratives, across venues ranging from Artist Run Initiatives to public spaces. SafARI LIVE will present the work of 6 Sydney-based performance artists who will stage live interventions throughout the exhibition period.

Information on the event schedule can be found Here.

The 19th Biennale of Sydney – You Imagine What You Desire: 21 March to 9 June 2014

The 19th Biennale of Sydney under the artistic direction of Juliana Engberg begins at the end of this month, with a theme that focuses on celebrating the artistic imagination by seeking to understand the need artists have today to create immersive and extended environments. Festival events will occur over three main venues including Cockatoo Island, Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Information on the event schedule can be found Here.

Vivid Sydney – 23 May to 9 June 2014

The anticipated Vivid Festival will begin the weekend of the 23rd  May incorporating a host of exhibits and performances that explore light sculpture after dark, gifted and sought after music acts,  and inspirational ideas shared by key note speakers on innovation, creativity and community. More can be found on the website Here.


Featured Image: Trip to Switzerland in early 2014