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At least one Orange councillor will vote against $200,000 laneway art, and more have questions

August 15, 2023


Councillor Steve Peterson (inset) will vote against the $200,000 makeover. Main photo is the winning entry.

A collage of graffiti from the laneway. Orange News Examiner.
A collage of graffiti from the laneway. Orange News Examiner.
A collage of graffiti from the laneway. Orange News Examiner.

By Peter Holmes


Councillor Steve Peterson will vote at Tuesday night's meeting against a $200,000 art and light installation in a laneway running off Summer Street.



"When we spend money on projects like these it undermines everything else we do by providing a false impression that we are not responsible with ratepayers very hard earned money," Peterson said.

Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.


Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.



Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.




"Please don't demonstrate that we are so out of touch that we think this is what residents want from their council."



Council staff had recommended councillors support the proposal, which would see the graffiti-coated laneway reimagined.

The $200,000 installation, Aperture by Queensland artist Daniel Templeman, was selected after initial expressions of interest were lodged by 39 artists. Four were commissioned to prepare detailed design proposals. No artists from Orange applied for the commission.


Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.


Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.


Council's Public Art Panel used the following criteria to assess the proposals:

  • Overall artistic merit;

  • Suitability to the site;

  • Public safety and risk management;

  • Budget and timeline feasibility;

  • Durability, maintenance tly

Peterson said he would speak against the recommendation "somewhat reluctantly".


"There are benefits in making this space more attractive to enter, and I acknowledge the $100,000 New South Wales government infrastructure grant. But this involves $100,000 of our money as well. I just don't feel there is community support for this expenditure in this area."



Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.



He said the current council was not responsible for backing "the golden spheres" [commonly known as Orange's Golden Balls] or "the bee clock that doesn't tell the time" [a new art installation announced this week].



"So I feel this is my first opportunity to reflect what I perceive as community sentiment and not approve money for these projects.

"I am well aware of many of my patients who really struggle to get money together for many things including council rates."


Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.



Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.


Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.


In response to a story in The Orange News Examiner about the winning submission, councillor Glenn Floyd posted on social media that he too would be pursuing the matter.


Councillor Jack Evans told The Orange News Examiner on Tuesday afternoon that he had questions about the project, including why council wasn't able to find a local artist, and how any artistic parameters set by the Public Art Panel may have influenced the designs submitted.


He also wanted to know whether there was scope for inviting another round of applicants, with greater promotion in the local area.


Scenes from the laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

The laneway. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.


Councillor Tony Mileto said he had attended a staff briefing on the matter and that given no local artists had applied for the funding, he would back the proposal.


Meanwhile, Peterson will ask council staff to investigate the possibility of making the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program available to all children in Orange.


The program, founded by the American singer-songwriter, is a "free book gifting program devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children everywhere".


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