Back to drawing board for mall art search

Wollongong City Council's quest to commission a new piece of public art has hit a snag - none of the submissions were good enough.

In June the council announced plans to spend as much as $500,000 on a piece of public art that would be incorporated into the Crown Street Mall upgrade.

Council received 33 submissions, which were evaluated against a range of selection criteria and narrowed the list down to four who were invited to submit a tender.

MORE: In defence of the $500,000 art spend

The final four were: Milne & Stonehouse; Matthew Harding; Hew Chee Fong; and LM Noonan and Australian Bell.

Each applicant was judged against a new set of criteria and had 45 minutes to present their concept to the tender panel.

According to a report that goes before councillors tonight, none of the works was suitable.

"The tender panel acknowledged that some elements of the submissions had merit," the report stated. "However, the panel concluded that no artist/tenderer had satisfactorily addressed the assessment criteria and project brief and recommended that council decline to accept any of the tenders."

The report further recommends that council should "authorise the engagement of a suitably qualified and experienced public art curator to assist council with the procurement of public art for the Crown Street Mall".

The curator would ensure that any commissioned work or works for the Crown Street Mall have "a sympathetic relationship to the site, its community and retail context, establishing a coherent and sensitive and subtle sense of place".

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