Public art at Byron Bay, something the town is likely to see more of.
Public art at Byron Bay, something the town is likely to see more of.

Byron looks to art

SCULPTURES, paintings, murals, mosaics, even totem poles, could be popping up in all corners of Byron Shire in the near future.

They all qualify as public art, and Byron Shire councillors would like to see many more such works appearing throughout the shire – either outside or inside public buildings.

Their policy ‘to enhance the cultural and place values of local areas and streetscapes’ is on exhibition until next Thursday.

One of its goals is to create individual works to help identify each of the different towns and villages within the shire.

“The draft public art policy provides a framework to ensure public art installations reflect the distinctiveness and mix of cultural values in each of the towns and rural areas,” mayor Jan Barham said.

There have already been some forays into public art in Byron Shire, according to artist and policy committee member Dev Lengjel, including stencils, murals, laneway art, painted electricity boxes, and the upside-down turtle sculpture in a field on the way into Mullumbimby.

“But I want to take it further,” he said.

Mr Lengjel wants to see iconic works marking the entrances to the shire, and for each town to have pieces of artwork identifying them and capturing their character.

“Once the policy is accepted by council we can go for state and federal funding,” Mr Lengjel said.

Byron Shire had one of the highest concentrations of artists in the country, and the policy would generate employment for them, he said.

Byron Bay’s colourful electricity boxes had been painted by two artists through the Byron Youth Service, co-ordinator Deb Pearse said.

The town’s youngsters needed spaces where they could do their own art with judgment or interference, she said.

“The artwork at the Byron Bay skate park adds to the ambience and it definitely reduces tagging,” she said.

Council infrastructure costing more than $1 million must include public art to the value of 2 per cent of the total development cost as an integral part of the development.

Byron Shire residents can submit their feedback on the draft policy until Thursday, May 20.



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