PUBLIC Art In The Wheatbelt

Submitted by FORM, building a state of creativity

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Client

Location: Perth, Australia

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $55,000

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Rhianna Pezzaniti, Project Manager

FORM Building a State of Creativity

Public Art Agent

Sean Byford, Project Manager

FORM

Artist

Hense

Artist

Phlegm

Overview

This project, as part of FORM’s 2015 PUBLIC festival, was a large scale mural installation across eight silos in Western Australia’s iconic Wheatbelt region. The silos measured 38m x 11m each, equalling roughly 1672 square metres. The artists selected for the artwork were internationally renown street artists Phlegm (UK) and Hense (USA). The artists were asked to respond to the unique landscape and agricultural heritage of the region at a site nestled in golden rolling hills and scattered flocks of sheep. The artists transformed the concrete structures into iconic works of art, embraced whole-heartedly by the local community.

Goals

FORM, a non-profit arts and cultural organisation, established a unique partnership with CBH (Cooperative Bulk Handling) which operates over 200 grain receival and storage facility sites across the Wheatbelt. CBH’s Northam silos were selected due to their high visibility and desirable surface. CBH had a commitment to invest in cultural programs where their members live and work and given FORM’s experience in working in regional communities and delivering high quality programs and artwork, collaboration was an obvious fit. FORM managed the project in its entirety from fundraising to council approvals to artist selection, delivery and promotion. FORM selected two artists that had significant experience working at scale and who would undoubtedly produce a spectacular outcome that would become an icon for the region but also provide international reputational benefits. The artists received briefs and contextual information but were largely allowed free reign over their designs which were primarily informed by their experience of the site and a level of spontaneity. FORM managed the delivery on the ground with the project team and artists working 16 days straight to complete the project. Other stakeholders involved in the project were the Northam community and CBH's grower membership who enthusiastically visited the site.

Process

Major guiding objectives behind the development and implementation of this project are:
Identity– to celebrate, build and express the unique identity of Northam in a distinctive, fun and sophisticated way.
Activate– to transform an iconic piece of infrastructure and invite the local communities and visiting audiences to experience the region in an interesting and unique way.
Reputation – to develop Western Australia’s reputation as a hot spot for high quality international street art with a beacon in the Wheatbelt region, 1.5 hours east of Perth.
Exploration– to a create a dynamic, evolving and diverse cultural precinct that helps to inform the cultural tourism strategy for the region and to encourage exploration and adventure by commissioning artworks that feed the imagination and are open to individual interpretation and collective exchange.
Exchange – to encourage cultural exchange by inviting international artists to collaborate with our local artists and communities to create site specific works through a unique perspective of a visiting artist.
Partner– develop a model for interesting cross-sector partnerships between like-minded organisations.
This project is unique in that the commissioned artwork was in fact the project. The integration of the objectives were paramount to the delivery of the project.

Additional Information

The project received significant international coverage in street art blogs, magazines, national TV and press and generated significant interest from local governments and other stakeholders interested in partnering to complete similar projects. This project was just one component of the greater PUBLIC program which saw 60 street artists from all around the world transform over 70 spaces in the Perth metropolitan area. The PUBLIC Symposium saw global thought-leaders arrive over the same time period for a three day program of workshops, seminars and panels engaging in dialogue around the value of art, creativity and innovation to cities, communities and places.