Artist could add bite to 'dull' mall

Crown Street Mall could be invaded by sculptures of spiders. Picture digitally altered

Crown Street Mall could be invaded by sculptures of spiders. Picture digitally altered

The woman who helped select Sydney's controversial "cloud arch" and milk crate sculptures will soon make her mark in Wollongong's Crown Street Mall.

Wollongong City Council has engaged Sydney-based art director Barbara Flynn as its "public art curator", to oversee the establishment of art in the newly refurbished mall.

When Sydney's $9 million art program was revealed in July, social media reacted with derision as commentators clamoured to nickname the planned structures. Many mocked the undulating white arch that will rise more than 50 metres from the pavement on George Street, with suggestions such as Booty Ghost, the Monorail Reborn, the Giant Tapeworm, God's Dental Floss and The Skipping Rope emerging.

When Ms Flynn was appointed to little fanfare in Wollongong late last year, she was told by the council's city centre steering committee that the city's public art would need to be seen by the community as value for money.

Sydney's controversial Cloud Arch.

Sydney's controversial Cloud Arch.

The committee, which includes several councillors and Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, also requested it be "a substantial work that balances ideas of creativity and innovation with a sense of value and a sense of place", and "unsubtle, strong, out there to reflect Wollongong's dynamic character".

It is unclear how much money Ms Flynn will have to procure the art. The council had previously allocated a $500,000 public art budget for its refurbishment project, however, according to August minutes of the steering committee, the curator will seek extra.

"[She] has indicated a willingness to seek additional complementary funding sources for the public art for Crown Street Mall," the minutes say.

If a Wollongong residents forum has its way, the art could include bronze pigs rummaging through rubbish bins, a giant spider stalking innocent shoppers or giant fish statues wedged through a roof or wall.

Adelaide's life-sized pigs, known as A Day Out, could sit in the mall. Picture digitally altered.

Adelaide's life-sized pigs, known as A Day Out, could sit in the mall. Picture digitally altered.

Neighbourhood Forum 5 convener David Winterbottom hoped a gallery of bronze statues from cities around the world, which he sent to forum members last week, would inspire the creation of some "quirky, fabulous" art.

"The mall is so dull that it really does need something to liven it up," Mr Winterbottom said. "My slight worry is that they'll go for something like one of these abstract steel sculpture things ... but these sort of quirky things could be something quite unique to Wollongong."

Ms Flynn will present to the committee this month.

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