7 August 2009

Where's the interesting art to be found?

| jessiegirl
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This is a call for help to all you art boffins out there.

My partner is studying Cultural Heritage at Uni and is planning to do a study on Canberra’s public art installations in a heritage context. He’ll be looking at all (or as many as he can) sculptures, murals, arty styled fixtures in and around Canberra. As we are relatively new to Canberra, we would love some help to find interesting public art displays with some form of history to them.

For example we’ll be looking at the sheep sculptures in Civic, the fixtures along the Gungahlin Drive Extension and anything else you guys can tell us!

Any help we can get would be greatly appreciated!

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The bronze mouldings on the side of the commonwealth bank in civic are a significant australian sculpture as well (tom bass?).

That might be an interesting one in cultural context – CBA has stuck nice plastic CBA signs above and below them. And who owns them now – CBA or the govt?

Clown Killer10:15 am 09 Aug 09

What exactly do studies in Cultural Heritage lead to? You can get a degree in this?

You can get a degree in cultural heritage management (CHM) – although from memory I believe that the University of Canberra, in its infinite wisdom, decided to shut down its CHM school – which was one of only two in the country – to open, instead the 15th or 16th forensics department.

Professionally it’s a small field. Academia and the public sector provide some opportunities but for people with the right combination of skills – such as another degree in archaeology or history as well as CHM there’s plenty of very well paid opportunities.

miz said :

Actually, the stained glass windows at the National Library are also significant in some way, I just can’t remember who did them.

Wasn’t it Leonard French?

Hi All,

Thank you so much for your comments and assistance. The suggestions and websites are invaluable and we’ll be happily exploring Canberra’s public art over the next few weeks.

Oh and Barking Toad…yes there are degrees in Cultural Heritage Management and there are many jobs out there. Check out Dept Environment, any city council or state government.

So thanks again!


old canberran9:18 pm 07 Aug 09

The National Capital Development Commission, NCDC, published a book titled “Works Of Art in Canberra in 1980. ISBN 0 642 89892. The National Library or the library at old Parliament House may still have copies. There are also several other books on the same topic.

moneypenny26128:52 pm 07 Aug 09

… don’t know if the sculptures at the Dickson shops count as art. Also doubt they’re any way historic!

There was a bicentennial competition for schools which involved painting murals on those weird round bus shelters. Inevitably childish, but kind of cute…

I don’t think there are too many ‘originals’ left these days (but for the commemorative plaques). Over the years I’ve been here, most have been freshly painted a boring cream or graffitied out of existence.

But there may be a few ‘originals’ around? Anyone know of them? I think there is one intact in Ainslie.

And more sheep art at Kambah shops!

Tom Bass also did the art frieze sculpture above the doorway of the National Library. Actually, the stained glass windows at the National Library are also significant in some way, I just can’t remember who did them.

I also suggest the Weston Park arboretum might qualify as an art installation – and it certainly has cultural significance. You can do walking tours of it.

I think the old mosaic on the outside of the Rex Hotel in Northbourne is historic and by someone quite famous … dates from the 1950s I think …

Weaselburger3:20 pm 07 Aug 09

The cube that’s outside the carpark enterance to the extention of the canberra centre has a lot of history. It used to be outside the cube nightclub wich is where it got it’s name from. I’m not sure what year it was built bet hopefully someone from around (or the riotact) would be able to fill you in. there was also alot of controvosy with the big hunk of twisted metal they call “art” on the GDE. but if all else fails then there’s always the sculptures on ANZAC parade and as mentioned the goldmine at the ANU.

hope that’s a help

GardeningGirl1:49 pm 07 Aug 09

The Rex hotel mosaic. I guess it’s not public art but it faces a major road, and it has a story . . .

The statue of Ethos outside the Legislative Assembly has an interesting story to it, but I am not confident that I remember enough to recount it! the sculptor was Tom Bass, so that would be a decent starting point.

If the interest is in regional heritage (as opposed to exclusively modern-day ACT), Queanbeyan also has some interesting works scattered through the CBD.

barking toad1:29 pm 07 Aug 09

What exactly do studies in Cultural Heritage lead to? You can get a degree in this?

Serious question.

artsACT have a list of public art located throughout Canberra – worth having a look at their website if you haven’t already.

See http://www.arts.act.gov.au/pages/page9.asp

There are a ton at the ANU — here’s a list of sculptures (unfortunately it is somewhat out of date). I loathe the giant banana-and-croissant outside the Ian Ross building but some of the others are lovely.

Oh, and there’s a great deal of art on the ANU campus. Just have a walk around.

There is the Civic Public Art Walking Tour. Be warned though that there’s no time of day/night that’s optimal to see everything, since some of it is inside buildings that are shut at night and other parts use lighting that’s not on during the day.

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