What is public art?

    Public Art is any art within public spaces like parks, streets, buildings and other areas the public uses. It can take many forms ranging from a large permanent sculpture, to an ephemeral projection project. Public art aims to enrich community. It is where creativity, culture and community intersect in a visible way that stimulates reflection, imagination and participation. 

    “Public art offers deep insights into a local culture, the ideas it can foster and the place it can become. It expresses a community’s willingness to think differently and take confident risks together.” ~ Esther Anatolitis, National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) 

    Why do we need a Public Art Strategy?

    The public art strategy sets out a clear approach and direction for public art in Wollongong including  

    • Why and how Council is involved in public art 

    • What we gain by supporting and investing in public art 

    • The principles that guide the actions 

    • The context and processes within which decisions about public art are made 

    It also identifies four key focus areas for the next ten years and the goals and actions that align with these. A Strategy means that we have a consistent and cohesive approach to how we think about, and plan for public art in Wollongong.

    Who developed the Public Art Strategy?

    Last year we worked with the Public Art Advisory Panel (PAAP) to develop the Strategy’s Guiding Principles. The PAAP are a diverse group of experts and community members who provide advice to Council on new commissions, acquisitions and public art issues.  

    The development of the Strategy was then led by the Council’s Cultural Development team who worked collaboratively with other teams across council, to develop the actions and the key objectives of the strategy.  

    We also consulted with the community to develop the strategy and welcome more community feedback on the draft Strategy, during the exhibition period.

    I love this artwork, can we have more like this?

    Lots of different things need to be considered when selecting public art. This includes the artwork itself, the space, the community that will experience it, as well as the cost and maintenance of it. Wollongong has an amazing and diverse collection of permanent public art works across the Local Government Area (LGA).   

    Different artworks inspire different responses, and can challenge our thoughts and ideas.  The Strategy will support a clear direction of for the future of public art in Wollongong, including art that will contribute to making public spaces interesting, curious and creative for our community.  

    Where can I see public art in Wollongong?

    There are over 170 permanent public art pieces that you can see across the Wollongong LGA. There are amazing murals, sculptures along coastlines and painted pathways – artworks that have been carefully curated and embedded through the region.  This map shows you where some of our public art works are. Next time you are out and about, have a look around and see whether you can find something you love, or want to know more about and share it with us here. 

    Trait, Waratah mural. Woonona Laneway 

    Fatih Semiz, Curious Dream of an Architect. Wollongong Botanic Garden


    Col Henry, Sea Chanty. Holborn Park, Berkeley



    Is there a public art trail in Wollongong?

    While there are heaps of public art works across Wollongong, there is not an official public art trail. We have heard from the community that you are keen to explore public art and see some trails across the city and along the coast and we would love to see this happen too.  

    One of the actions identified in the Draft Public Art Strategy is to develop and market a new public art trail via an accessible platform or format. 

    Who decides what to put where?

    Planning for public art is done by Council staff with the help of the Public Art Advisory Panel (PAAP). Careful considerations are needed in selecting an artwork or artist and a location as well as cost, maintenance requirements and impact on the public domain.