image: public art by Tony Jones
Public Art is an increasingly big deal for artists and communities alike. In fact two of the arts five Artist Talk in 2012 focused on public art, and how it can be a stream of creative work for local artists. Over the last two decades, 80 percent of Perth metro Local Governments adopted Percent for Art Policies to help deliver more public art. In short, these policies mandate that major private developments such as offices, shops or apartments have to incorporate public artwork to the value of one percent of the total project cost. This policy is already delivering hundreds of public artworks that would not have existed otherwise, and the rate of creating public artwork is only accelerating.
So it is with much enthusiasm that the Hub celebrates the fact that the City of Stirling not only joined the 80% of metro councils who operate a Percent for Art Policy, but also defended it successfully in the face of challenge last month. Responding to quite reasonable requests by developers to revisit the policy due to costs of delivering affordable projects, the City investigated the effect of the policy, and heard deputations by two of the Hub’s Working Group members, Graham Hay and Peter Ciemitis. One main observation was of course that “one percent is not one percent” … or in other words, public artwork that is integrated in development is usually just a part of the building that is designed by an artist, rather than the architect (eg, screens, street furniture, gates, etc), so the actual additional cost to a project is actually negligible.
To the Hub’s delight, the City voted unanimously to retain its Percent for Art policy, with special thanks to Inglewood’s new Ward Councillor Damien Guidici who spoke passionately about the value of public art.
It’s a great time to be an artist, particularly an artist that gets involved in public art.