$10m city art transformation

JESSICA TASMAN-JONES
Last updated 05:00 28/05/2012

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Neon lights zig-zagging through a downtown alley, temporary artworks in Wynyard Quarter's silos and a bronze duck hiding in a Queen St park are among $10 million of art to be added to the Auckland landscape over the next year.

The council has this month been considering 53 projects across Auckland - although almost half are in the Waitemata area which covers the CBD.

Most projects are new art pieces, but some involve maintenance or alternations to existing works, such as Molly McAllister's iconic Maori Warrior which will be moved to a new spot within the CBD.

Highlights from the programme, covering the 2012/13 financial year, include a series of photographic exhibitions on the back of billboards at Henderson train station, beautification of the Papatoetoe RSA, library and Burnside Park to celebrate the district's 150 year reunion, and "artistic treatment" for the exterior of a new car park by artists Reuben Paterson and Lonnie Hutchinson.

The $230,000 Eyelight Lane by artist David Svensson is described as a "meandering red neon line mounted on buildings on either side of Fort Lane that crosses [the] alley at three points".

Meanwhile Critters, by Rachel Walters, completes a trio of animal sculptures "hiding in plain sight" in Myers Park.
The $73,000 bronze duck will sit atop a manhole cover hiding in a bubble wrap envelope.

The programme was endorsed by the culture, arts and events forum last week but will not be approved until it goes before it's put to a vote at next month's regional development and operations committee.

Of the $9.88m budget, $2.68m will come from the public arts fund. The rest comes from the Auckland Art Gallery, local boards, art trusts, libraries, council controlled organisations and private donors.

Manager public art Carole Anne Meehan said public art supports Mayor Len Brown's vision to make the city the world's most liveable, as outlined in the Auckland Plan.

"Public art enlivens spaces and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.  

"Managed well it can have huge economic and social benefits to a city and create places that can be enjoyed by all Aucklanders."

A single policy on public art has not yet been adopted by the new Auckland Council.

A discussion document is currently before local boards, key stakeholders and council-controlled organisations before a draft policy is prepared for public feedback.

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