The importance of public art
From commemorative sculptures to playful and inspirational pieces, art plays a key role in all of Auckland's public places. Art in parks can include everything from the traditional to the highly inventive, and from the intimately scaled to the landmark. Populated with works created by artists from both near and far, art will give visual form to Auckland's highest aspirations, evoke New Zealand's stories and embed deep meaning into its built and natural landscape.
Some examples of art that is permanently sited in Auckland's park environments include Rachel Walters' Critters in Myers Park, Chris Booth's Gateway in Albert Park, and Regan Gentry's Learning Your Stripes, which spans Burnside Park and the RSA Memorial in Old Papatoetoe.
In order to ensure the successful installation of public art into open space, the Arts and Culture Unit must be engaged whenever the creation of a new permanent work of art is proposed. The Arts and Culture Unit must also be engaged whenever management, such as relocation or repair of an existing work of art is required, so that the outcome:
- is aligned with the Auckland Plan, the Arts and Culture Strategic Action Plan, the council's Public Art Policy and Treaty of Waitangi obligations
- values Matauranga Maori, where appropriate
- will receive a favourable decision by the relevant local board or governing body
- results in an asset life of appropriate length (typically a minimum of fifteen years)
- enables robust asset management practices
- doesn't cause offence
Designing for public art
Best practice always begins with considering the reason for introducing art into a public place, or for relocating or modifying an existing work.
Art work in parks can sometimes perform a dual function, such as a seat, fence or bridges, and this should be explored as a way to minimise clutter. Full consideration of the context is essential. Art works in park must meet the needs of the park environment, such as: its safety requirements and anticipated levels of use.
Project development and artist selection can happen in many ways, but must begin with full commitment to an excellent art work that is worthy of entering the council's art collection. With this shared objective, a collaborative approach that responds to the community and invites their involvement, will lead to a successful outcome.
Officers from the Arts, Culture and Recreation department will work with relevant council teams to tailor project planning and implementation for a range of situations and stakeholders, whether Local Boards, private trusts, or government entities such as NZTA.
Respond to the surrounding context by:
- considering the intended use of the place
- considering mana whenua interests
- understanding local heritage
- understanding local biodiversity values
- respecting the artist's intentions and wishes
- identifying any relationships between a proposed art work and the wider art collection
Ensure easy maintenance and management by:
- ensuring all aspects of permanent public art are durable, robust and can be maintained. Issues such as materials selection, graffiti and vandalism resistance, and fabrication methods should be agreed by the Arts and Culture Unit. A thorough maintenance record is a requirement for all new artwork
- considering the cost implications of ongoing maintenance and restoration at the planning stage, by identifying the resources that will be required for this
- considering the safety of proposed public art pieces, in particular their ability to be climbed on, or used as an entrapment spot
- assessing the need for lighting of individual pieces, and whether this would provide enjoyment for both day and night park users
Other resources (PDF downloads)