Home' Scoop Homes and Art : Insite 25 Winter 2010 Contents OPINION: JANET
HOLMES A COURT
What can we learn from Victoria's progressive
public art push? Janet shares her experience and
calls for Perth to take up the creative challenge.
Melbourne has been a second home to me for the past
30 years. The commitment to the arts of Victorian
Governments of both persuasions, and the great
Victorian philanthropic families has meant that I have
always seen Melbourne as a city that values creativity.
In 2004, I was given the opportunity to play a part
in a very special Victorian arts project. A company
whose board I am proud to chair -- John Holland --
was selected to construct a tollway from Mitcham
to Frankston in a joint venture with Theiss.
Our commitment to the client -- ConnectEast
-- was that we would spend $3 million on sculptural
works to enliven the journey for drivers using the
39-kilometre road, and cyclists and pedestrians using
the shared user path that would run alongside it.
Architects Roger Wood and Randell Marsh were
responsible for designing noise walls, tunnel portals and
vent stacks, bridges -- both vehicular, of which there
were 86, and pedestrian (14) -- and bridge abutments.
The work of Wood/Marsh is original, sympathetic
to the environment, very beautiful and often spectacular.
It had previously won international awards for its urban
design on Victoria's Eastern Freeway, for which our
project was to be an extension.
A committee of Roger, Randell, Yvonne von Hartel
and myself was to select and commission the sculptures
for the project. We invited eight artists to submit designs
for road verges. Works by Emily Floyd, Simeon Nelson,
James Angus and Callum Morton were selected.
Works for the shared user path came from art studios,
the Helen Lempriere Award and Sculpture by the Sea
in Bondi. The many issues we had to deal with included:
• Wood/Marsh had designed what amounted to an
enormous sculpture snaking through the Eastern
suburbs of Melbourne. To insert sculpture into a
sculpture required great sensitivity.
• Many di erent authorities had to be satisfied that
the works were positioned where they would not
distract drivers (ie they could not become hazards).
• Works had to be as vandal-resistant and maintenance-
free as possible. All the works will become part of
the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria at
the end of the concession period.
I am convinced that EastLink is one of the most
beautiful roads in the world. We need more projects
like this in Perth, more sculptures and public artworks
of scale. Many of the pieces here are too small and
'prissy'. If we want to become a more vibrant, creative
city, we need the investment. And we need multi-faceted
arts projects that allow for this well-developed urban
spectacle. Janet Holmes à Court AC
AWARD WINNING HOMES
161b Burswood Road, Burswood
Western Australia 6100
ph. 9355 1744
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