Council to endorse selected sculptures for the new BBay pool and theatre

Council is commissioning public artworks as part of the $69 million Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre project. The overall cost of the artwork is estimated to be $238,318 and the funds will be drawn for the overall $69 million project budget. The indicative project budget for the artworks was to have been $200,000 however, it is now proposed to adopt a budget variation of $38,318 to meet the costs of the recommended artworks. This cost will be met from within the overall Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre project budget. Artists were offered the choice of offering a single piece for either the theatre forecourt or the western forecourt (main entrance). Artists were encouraged to consider submitting two responses that linked the artwork to both the theatre forecourt and the western forecourt, thus compelling visitors to examine and explore the story that ties the two pieces together. The Expression of Interest (EOI) process was the first stage of a two-stage process. The objective of the EOI process was to identify and pre-register a number of respondents who would then be provided with an opportunity to develop their concept. Five artists were shortlisted from a field of over twenty and invited to submit a final concept. The five shortlisted artists presented their final concepts to the panel members on 12th of May 2021. Fenella Richards from Everlon with her artwork entitled ‘Emergence’ (below) was the selected piece for the theatre forecourt. This work was inspired by the form of bird eggs in the local area. Council offer in the report to be voted on next week recommending the acceptance of the selected concept designs for Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre, saying of Emergence by artist Fenella Richards from Everlon "The work is comprised of a number of ‘eggs’ that can be laid at different angles to reveal their unique designs. This artwork links with the theme of the wetlands and encapsulates the abundant collection of colourful and artistic imagery of wildlife. "The overall form of the artwork uses a light aggregate concrete which compliments the materiality of the building and also links into the breakwaters across the Shire. Within each of the ‘eggs’ would be a laser-cut image that will be backlit at night."

Above: Fenella Richards' artwork entitled ‘Emergence’ Cathy Drew from McClelland and Drew with her artwork entitled ‘Rockpool’ (below) was the selected piece for the western forecourt (main entrance).

The concept proposed was based around a rockpool that encourages people to sit together, in direct contact with the artwork.

The report to Council advises "The looping shape of the work enables up to ten people to sit on and appreciate the artwork. The overall design of the artwork aligns well with the ideas of place and community that were key components of the initial design of the building. The proposed artwork will amplify this as well as becoming a real talking point for the precinct. The artwork fits the overall brief very well as it provides artwork that is large enough to create an impact but also brings an intimacy of scale."

"One other key component of the design was the use of programmable lighting that creates a tidal effect with a slow rising and falling of internal lighting projecting onto the surrounding ground plane. Overall, the proposed artwork has strong historical and cultural links and demonstrated strong links against the original artist brief."

The artworks will require minimal maintenance. The main requirement will be the replacement of the LED lighting on an ‘as required basis’. The rockpool artwork will require a protective coating to be re-applied on a recurring ten-year cycle. Both artworks were reviewed by the Public Arts Advisory Committee made up of community representatives, councillors and Council officers.

The report states that the Public Arts Advisory Committee were unanimous in their support to accept the selected concept designs for the Bay Pavilions. Upon Council endorsement, the artists will be contracted and work on the respective artworks will commence. Both artworks are scheduled to be in place prior to the formal opening of the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre in early 2022 by the next Mayor and newly elected councillors.