Monday, 27 June 2011

Reflections on riverside art

Riding in the sun along the Yarra River bike path upstream from the city, it struck me that the flurry of big, expensive public art projects ends very abruptly on the edges of the city. The next stop on the public art train is Herring Island, and that's not very public (you have to catch a boat to get there).

So, here they are. Five good reasons why the lower Yarra River is perfect for public art;

  1. Ever noticed those tourist river boats cruising up and down the river? What do the passengers look at when they're out of the city and get sick of mown lawn and elm trees? A couple of nice old bridges. A toilet block or two. They're a perfect, slow moving captive audience for some great riverside public art. 
  2. Anything can look good reflected in the water... which makes it easy for everyone concerned. It doesn't even have to be good public art!
  3. The sloping grass banks of the river create a tilted canvas, aimed at the riverside path and river traffic audience. Unlike their big city cousins, works wouldn't need to be large scale or tall to make an impact. 
  4. Public art in the city competes for attention with buildings, urban furniture, signage and billboards. Works along the river would have more space to breathe.
  5. Pedestrians and cyclists deserve a reward for getting some fresh air and exercise.