With thanks to Janene Carey, Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun 29/11/19
A landmark piece of public art is being proposed for Hickory St in Dorrigo, with all costs to be met by a long-time resident who is passionate about revitalising the town centre and promoting cultural tourism.
The local philanthropist, who preferred not to have his name published, engaged arts consultancy Creative Road to commission the work and oversee the project.
Creative Road invited three experienced public sculpture artists to present a concept design for a large-scale, eye catching contemporary sculpture referencing Dorrigo’s natural environment.
The selection panel – Richard Rees, Chris Hundt, Peter Mortimore and Sandra Pitkin (all established Dorrigo artists) plus the philanthropist and Bellingen Shire mayor Dominic King – subsequently chose Stuart Green’s Water Cloud.
To be located adjacent to the Dorrigo Hall and Visitor Information Centre, and elevated six metres above Hickory St with the sky as its backdrop, the stainless steel sculpture is intended to be a strong visual marker for both pedestrians and motorists, encouraging more visitors to stop and explore the town.
Programmable lighting will be used to bring a sense of movement and dynamism to the sculpture and to allow it to act as a beacon at night.
Artist Stuart Green said water movement was the “overriding image” inspiring his suggestion, and that the circular nature of the sculpture seeks to “make the water cycle apparent”.
The suspended sculpture is designed to be intriguing and engaging, said Creative Road Director Rebecca Townsend.
“Suspension of the artwork across the main street was proposed to provide an additional element of drama and high visibility from multiple vantage points within the main street,” she said.
“We believe an artwork in this high profile location will help develop a new identity for Dorrigo. We hope it will be a catalyst and encourage future streetscape beautification to benefit the local community and business owners.”
As the designated recipient of the gift, Bellingen Shire Council resolved at Wednesday’s council meeting to place the draft concept design on public exhibition for 28 days to seek comments, particularly from Dorrigo Chamber of Commerce, businesses in the commercial area of Hickory St, residents on the northern end of Hickory St and Essential Energy.
Cr Desmae Harrison noted that “the word is out” in Dorrigo already and those who had spoken to her about it had all made positive remarks.
“It will be a big attraction as this artist is known worldwide,” she said. “I take pleasure in recommending this.”