Public sculptures to decorate Mullumbimby cycleway

BYRON Shire Council has granted DA approval for 13 public sculptures to be erected along the half kilometre stretch of cycleway between Federation Bridge and Mullumbimby Scout Hall.

Fundraising will soon start for the first piece on the Palm Park Sculpture Walk, which will be installed on the corner of River Terrace and Burringbar Street.

"It's a long-term project that will begin with the realisation of 'Enter Here', an assemblage of recycled power poles painted and forming a portal through which cyclists and pedestrians can pass," said sculptor and Creative Mullumbimby spokesman Suvira McDonald.

"The other sites are a blank canvas at this point and artists of the region will have a chance to install work there in the months, years and decades to come. It will be a mix of permanent and temporary works."

The DA comes after seven years of visioning and policy making, which have not only resulted in DA approval but also paralleled major developments within Byron Shire Council.

"I initially pitched this concept to the previous council, which had no policy around public art at that point," Suvira said. "My curator colleague Dev Lengjel and I subsequently sat on committees participating in the development of policy and implementation strategy over the past three years."

Released in 2012, council's public art policy now provides a framework for assessing public artwork proposals for the Byron Shire.

"This means that whenever community members make submissions regarding producing or installing art on council-owned or managed public land, there are guidelines in place for assessment of the suitability of the work," Suvira said. "It also makes the process of grant application possible."

Public art, he added, was an important statement of the community's culture and identity.

"We declare ourselves through public art and it is important that the full spectrum of the arts community share in that expression," he said. "The appearance of more art in public will be a catalyst for discussion in the times to come."

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