Today I was excited to walk through the recently completed law courts on George Street. It was a bit stark, but nonetheless, it is a great new pedestrian connection from Roma St and Parklands through to the Tank Street Bridge.
Around June 2012, I remember the media “controversy” about the government spend on public art, and it saddens me that the “Art+Place” funding got cut in the new government re-shuffle. Its predecessor policy “Art Built-In” (for new government buildings) set an inspiring 2% of the building budget into public art. I remember first learning about it at uni and found it a remarkable policy.
It came up at the Flying Arts Forum, that the public art budget for the new Supreme Court was about $3million, but had the 2% still applied it would have been $12million. What a significant difference!
Public art is so subjective and will always have its “value” judged differently – but surely most people could agree it makes public realms more visually and culturally interesting. Our cities must be better for it.
I feel like design (architecture and landscape architecture) can also get “cut” from big building budgets too, and using public art could have been a way to leverage more priority and focus on overall integrated design. How art & design is understood and valued in State Government capital works was part of my previous work and I think still needs to be looked at. I hope that we might aspire to follow models like CABE’s Better Public Buildings.