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The Role of Public Art Debated

05 August 2004

Art for All, All for Art: The Role of Public Art Debated

A controversial international artist from New York and an eminent Australian public art consultant will lead panels of speakers in a one-day national symposium on the role of art in urban design and development. Convened by the Wellington Sculpture Trust with the support of Te Papa, the event is being held at Te Papa on 3 September 2004.

Katy Campbell, a trustee of the Wellington Sculpture Trust and organiser of the Symposium, said: "Public art plays a vital role in the urban environment; no art is more accessible to the whole population. The symposium aims to address the conceptual distinction between 'public art' and art in public spaces, the questions of who is it for and where does it come from, and related philosophical and practical issues."

Artist/architect Vito Acconci will deliver a provocative and challenging talk about his recent architectural projects, including the Light Beams for the Sky of a Transfer Corridor project in San Francisco 2003 and Island on the Mur, Graz, Austria, 2001. Acconci has won a reputation as one of last century's great original minds in his expression of personal experiences through installations, sculpture and architectural projects.

The second keynote speaker is Richard Brecknock, a cultural planning advisor from Australia who is committed to the concept of public art. Brecknock has a wealth of experience advising on open space strategies, and in particular the development of public art policy.

Other speakers include Professor Sally J Morgan, sculptor and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Massey University; Brett Graham, sculptor; and Neil Dawson, sculptor. They will discuss their experiences with art in public spaces both in New Zealand and internationally.

"The Wellington Sculpture Trust wants to facilitate a debate at a national level on the issues, concerns, opportunities and possibilities presented by the integration of public sculpture into the urban environment. The trust wishes to share national and international experiences in commissioning, fundraising and installing public sculpture, and look at case studies, and identify best practice for achieving practical results," Katy Campbell said.

The programme will provide for panels, debate and audience participation.

The symposium will take place on September 3 at Te Papa. Phone Wellington Sculpture Trust at (04) 499 6644 for a registration form, or download a form from the website


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