PUBLIC artworks will be created around the Lake Macquarie foreshore – including at Toronto and Speers Point – following a significant financial contribution from the state government.
Member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, said Lake Macquarie City Council would receive a grant of $285,800 to support the $571,600 project.
“I’m delighted to announce funding to support this fantastic project which will see the engagement of seven artists to design and manufacture art installations which will be placed along the Lake Macquarie foreshore.
“This work will help to create new and exciting experiences in Lake Macquarie for locals and visitors, and also support the creation of a new full-time position at council supporting professional cultural development,” he said.
“Artworks are planned for sites at Toronto, Warners Bay, Speers Point, Croudace Bay and Belmont North, so it’s a great project for the whole area.”
The grant was made from the 2017/18 round of the Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) program, a Commonwealth-funded initiative administered by the state government to support tourism projects that drive demand and increase local tourism expenditure.
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall, said the tourism sector was worth $33.2 billion per year in international and domestic visitor expenditure to the NSW economy and directly employed 164,000 people.
“Tourism is one of our state’s most important sectors and support for projects like this is vital to help local communities and economies grow and prosper,” he said.
Federal Assistant Tourism Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said the federal government had allocated funding through the TDDI to state and territory governments for tourism infrastructure projects where project proponents provided or sourced matching funding.
“This funding will support the delivery of projects that contribute to Tourism 2020 outcomes, namely to achieve more than $115 billion in overnight visitor spending by 2020 (up from $70 billion in 2009), Mr Hartsuyker said.
Council’s cultural services manager, Jacqui Hemsley, said Speers Point Park and Warners Bay foreshore had been identified as the first two sites for the art installations, as they were currently undergoing rejuvenation.
The complete trail would extend from the east to the west of the lake, she said.
It will complement the existing Sculpture Park at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.
Ms Hemsley said council was delighted to secure state government support for a project that would have many social, cultural and tourism benefits for the city.
“Council recognises that high-quality open spaces can be given added value through the innovative integration of art, to assist the community to develop a sense of identity, place and pride,” Ms Hemsley said.
“The incorporation of artworks in public open spaces within high visitation areas can encourage a sense of ownership by locals, improve the city's profile and also have the potential to create a positive economic impact.
“We expect this trail to become a popular tourist attraction in the same way that installations such as Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea, the Orchid Art Trail in Singapore, or Moreton Bay’s Redcliffe Foreshore Public Art Trail have enhanced the destination profile and visitation rates of those places.”
The Art Activation Program is part of a 10-year urban and public art program initiated by council in 2017 that aims to integrate public art into major development projects.