The Woolies shopping centre, where the mural will go.
The Woolies shopping centre, where the mural will go. Contributed

Mural to grace bland concrete wall

THE huge blank concrete wall of the new multi-million-dollar Woolworths shopping complex in Goonellabah is to be graced by a mural featuring a giant koala eyeing off stylised gum leaves.

Woolworths, which is financing the cost of the mural under a new council policy for major developments to fund public art, has been praised by Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell for pursuing art for the wall rather than opting to fund artwork elsewhere.

She said the 18m-long mural, which will overlook the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre and adjacent skate park, suits the site.

"I live in Goonellabah and it speaks to me of Goonellabah with all the leaf shapes," Cr Dowell said.

"It will provide a statement about Goonellabah.

"This is the first time any work has come in under the policy for any development over $2 million to provide public art.

"I would like to congratulate Woolworths for embarking on this project. They did have the option of providing money for work off site."

Cr Dowell said the artist Karla Dickens called Lismore home.

She is a highly regarded contemporary Aboriginal artist with an extensive exhibition history, locally and nationally

A Woolworths spokeswoman said development conditions required the company to make a contribution to public art but Woolworths had "also provided council with the opportunity to display the public art upon an external wall of the development".

"We have allowed council to select and nominate the artwork, which is to be displayed upon the wall," she said.

"Whilst it is not unique for pub- lic art to be displayed within new developments, this piece would be the largest of its kind to be undertaken in such an initiative for Woolworths."

The new complex is due to open in May with a 3400sq m Woolworths supermarket, eight specialty shops and a petrol station along with 262 car-parking spaces.

Under the new council public art policy new developments over $2 million are required to contribute a minimum of $15,000 where public art is provided on-site or at least $12,000 to the council's public art fund.

Council officers in a report to councillors said Woolworths is financing the entire cost of the artwork including payment of artist fees for five artists who were invited to submit concepts.

They said staff had met Woolworths' representatives two weeks ago and were told the company was "satisfied to proceed with the work".

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