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The Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk (MSW) has been recognised as a potential site of expression for artists of the region for quite some years. The idea was presented to the Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce and was met with an immediate positive response. The gateway sculpture maquette, renamed Enter Here, was mooted as the start up sculpture and went on exhibition in the CUBE art display in the Council Chambers foyer. It then had exposure at the Mullumbimby market eliciting numerous letters of support before being presented to Council’s Public Art Assessment Panel (PAAP).
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The site in question at the corner of Burringbar St and River Terrace (see the maps page here), next to Mullum Scout Hall, is classified as a Road Reserve, so the passage to materialisation required a DA - that was approved at a Council meeting late last year 2014. We at Creative Mullumbimby Inc., a design and planning collective of local professionals who delivered The Big Picture Show, also lodged the DA.
The approved plan allows for seven permanent and six temporary sites along the path, meaning that a permanent collection can be established over the years to come. Temporary works can be installed for periods of up to three months at a time.
The approval also gives the go ahead to the first sculpture at the entrance to the walk, , designed to initiate the walk and to invigorate the immediate area. Plans are also afoot to address the graffiti on the adjacent Scout Hall building with an integrated design of colour and imagery.
The sculpture, constructed from recycled power poles preserved by metal & concrete footings and paint, is intended to have broad appeal, especially with respect to the bright colouring (not finalised) and apparent random juxtapositioning of the poles. The intention is not to produce a work of meaning, rather a whimsical invitation to enter the walk. It is inevitable that later works on the Path will represent other aspects of our history and culture. Like most public art there will be discussion and debate and possibly the sculpture will acquire a popular name.
In this century the design of civic spaces incorporates art as readily as it incorporates pathways, tree plantings, garden beds, lighting or any other element. It reflects our identity and the pride that we have in those places. Art and creativity is part of the cultural identity of the town, along with our sustainable environment, farming, education, sport and festivals.
The proposed Walk utilises an existing path and cycleway and is planned to complement the composition of exotic palms planted in the 80’s and the more recent Landcare work. Creative Mullumbimby selected sites along the path that suit placement of sculpture without interference with the existing arboretum. Brunswick Valley Landcare who maintain the riparian zone along the river are very supportive.
Public art attracts both locals and visitors, thus bringing a potential economic benefit to the town; it may also serve to present some local artists with payment for their services to the community. Council’s PAAP meets quarterly to consider all artwork proposed for Council owned and other public land throughout the Shire.
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Any sculpture to be considered for installation either temporary or permanent needs to be approved by PAAP. That very same committee is currently identifying likely locations for public art throughout the Shire.
Other potential visual hot spots are the town entry points, various street corners, contemplative parks, and barren laneway walls. The intention is to have a planned approach to the installation of public art, engaging the community, Council and business owners.
There are currently many artists in the town and surrounds that would love the chance to contribute to the visual culture of Mullumbimby. They will have their chance, hopefully when we present the Mullumbimby Small Sculpture Show (stay tuned), a Symposium type process whereby various artists will present maquettes for the Sculpture Walk on which the community and Council will comment. The distinguishing thing about the Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk is that the works are to be site specific, employing the notion of ‘genius loci’ or spirit of place. It will be an excellent beginning.
Creative Mullumbimby acknowledges the long association of Aboriginal peoples' with the land on which the The Mullumbimby Sculpture Walk is situated. Creative Mullumbimby wishes to pay respects to Bundjalung elders past and present.