Council knocks Pelicant on the head as public space art
In a report going to Council next Tuesday (Nov 9th, 2018) there will be the recommendation that Councillors endorse the Public Art Advisory Committee (PAAC) recommendation to accept the sculpture Dance by artist Haruyuki Uchida to be installed at the recommended site B on the map below and and to mount the work on a plinth; They will also be asked to endorse the PAAC recommendation to accept the sculpture Portal by John Fitzmaurice, including the preferred orientation and site, as indicated in the image below at site A on the map below Alas for the sculpture Pelicant by Jesse Graham the PAAC recommendation is to decline acceptance of the sculpture. Following on from the highly successful 2018 Sculpture on Clyde exhibition at both Clyde Street and Wilinga the Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber submitted a public art application for three sculptural works to be considered for placement. The Sculpture on Clyde, run by the Chamber and supported by passionate volunteers and the generosity of spirit of patron Terry Snow of Willinga Park also saw the much appreciated support of Destination NSW come on board this year. With an underlying intent to not only host an international quality event the Chamber also look at the event as a Legacy that provides to the community an ever-building collection of public art pieces that they generously donate to the community. Whilst there is ample opportunity to display the donated pieces within privately owned spaces in the Batemans Bay CBD the Eurobodalla Council has seen an opportunity where they too might get involved and have availed public owned space to the chamber as suggested locations for the gifted works. The event commenced in 2017, with a permanent acquisition, Buoyansea, purchased and placed along Beach Road and the 2017 winning sculpture, Duet, located on private land in the CBD. This year the 2018 Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber submission to Council proposed the acquisition and permanent placement of three sculptures on public land in the Batemans Bay CBD. In line with the formal Council process they put in place to accept such gifts, the application was referred to the Public Art Advisory Committee for consideration and recommendation. In early 2018 Council and members of the PAAC met with Chamber representatives on site in Batemans Bay to consider eight possible sites along the foreshore, with a ninth site added to considerations after a request from the Chamber. While Council would have liked to have settled on site/s prior to the Sculpture on Clyde 2018 event the Chamber quite rightly advised that without knowing what the winning piece was such a determination was at the least, premature from the perspective of material, scale or context. As a result Council advised the Chamber to revisit possible sites in their public art submission, once a winning sculpture was chosen and the particular size, materials and aesthetics of the chosen piece were known. Following the close of the Sculpture on Clyde 2018 event, held in Willinga Park, the Chamber submitted a public art application for three sculptural works to be considered for placement. The Chamber proposed the following sites for the sculptures: Dance - the middle of the Beach Road roundabout, near the ‘Rivers’ store. Portal - the triangular piece of land approximately 20m from the Esplanade Hotel, on Beach Road at the end of the Mara Mia Walkway. Pelicant - either on the Clyde Street foreshore (the site of last year’s outdoor exhibition) or between Innes’ Boat Shed and the Starfish Deli. Unsurprisingly the PAAC had ideas of their own and the report to Council on Tuesday states of: Dance: The PAAC considers this work to be of world class standard and that its potential impact and location should be considered carefully. The PAAC does not support the placement of this sculpture on the roundabout on Beach Road. A work of this repute requires space and a site of prominence. The requested site does not align with a foreshore location for the proposed ‘sculpture walk’ or enable the community to fully engage with, or get close to, the sculpture. The PAAC recommend that Dance be situated on the point of land out from Spinnaker’s Reach at site (B) on the map below where its dynamic colour and form could be seen from across the river, from Beach Road, along Mara Mia Walkway and even the look out at Observation Point. This positioning, coupled with the colour of the sculpture, would provide a vibrant aspect from the marine corridor into the CBD. The PAAC also considered that it would be important to place the sculpture on a plinth to accentuate its scale, discourage climbing and mitigate any potential damage to the work. However, the PAAC acknowledge that the addition of a plinth would require collaboration and agreement from the artist and Chamber, if Council supports this option, as the plinth would become part of the piece.
Portal: The PAAC considers Portal to be an elegant and well considered sculpture. The marine theme suits the foreshore well. There were some concerns surrounding ongoing cleaning considerations as well as reflected heat and light, as the sculpture reflects on and burns the grass. Installation options will need to address this. The PAAC agree that the placement of this work, at site (A) on the map below, would be pivotal in setting up a dialogue between all of the sculptures along the foreshore and the development of a Sculpture Walk. The committee believe that Portal was intended to be looked through, acting as a conduit between the viewer on one side and elements of the surroundings on the other. It is for this reason they recommend that the sculpture be oriented to focus on something particular, rather than the landscape in general. Placing Portal to frame the marine entrance to the Bay would optimise the potential impact of the work. Situating the sculpture Dance within its sightline would enhance the flow of the artworks in the walk and realise the intent of the artist. The PAAC also suggested that this particular orientation, facing north-east, and installation on a suitable base would also significantly reduce reflective light concerns.
Pelicant: The PAAC do not recommend acceptance of Pelicant for a number of reasons, including the structure and materials used in the piece, potential risks and maintenance concerns and the lack of a suitable site. The PAAC and Council’s Infrastructure Services staff assessed the piece on site at Willinga Park and reviewed the basic engineering information provided as part of the assessment, concluding that the 2mm outer layer would present a higher risk of damage. At any site in the Batemans Bay CBD Pelicant would be subject to significant marine exposure and the internal structure would not be protected, as it is not fully sealed. In addition, there is no indication that the steel has been galvanised or similarly treated to protect against corrosion. Once installed it would be almost impossible to inspect the internal condition of the steel, with risk of damage and public safety potentially increasing yearly. It is of concern that the sculpture would attract climbing children and it does not conform to any of the rigorous Australian standards required for children’s play equipment. The size of the sculpture presents an additional problem. It would require a great deal of space surrounding it to be shown to its full potential. Currently there is no site within the Batemans Bay town centre to accommodate this piece. Coupled with CBD visioning work and new developments being considered, it is premature to place any sculpture in the space requested at this point in time. The Chamber may wish to negotiate placement of Pelicant on private land as an alternate option. The report recommends a budget of up to $5,000 be allocated towards the installation of the two sculptures