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Winner for $200,000 art installation selected; final approval from councillors required

August 11, 2023

Daniel Templeman’s Aperture. Supplied.

By Peter Holmes

A $200,000 grant to turn a grotty CBD laneway into what might be mistaken for the entrance to a fonky nightclub should be endorsed by councillors on Tuesday night.

That is the view of an Orange City Council (OCC) staff report to be considered by councillors, based on a survey, social media feedback and a panel of judges.

The NSW government will pay $100,000 and Orange City Council $100,000 from its Future City Public Art budget.

Funding for the project will cover the development, fabrication, installation and all associated costs and fees, including the artist’s fee.

The successful artist - provisionally Daniel Templeman with his Aperture design - will be contracted by Orange City Council and would be expected to manage and remunerate their subcontractors from this amount. According to his LinkedIn, Templeman is based in Queensland.

The staff recommendation is that “Council approve the Daniel Templeman design to be installed in the Laneway, based on the Public Art Panel review, public engagement responses and the building owner’s preference”.

“The building owner Charter Hall has committed to funding the cleaning, repairs and upgrade to the site in preparation for the artwork installation,” council staff said in the report.

The 66-metre-long enclosed laneway runs adjacent to the Kathmandu store from Summer Street to an underground car park, and also has an entry to Anson Street Plaza.

Council described the laneway as “a dimly lit space that attracts anti‐social behaviour such as graffiti. It has a panelled aluminium ceiling with walls of concrete, brick and glass. The ground plane is concrete. The new public artwork will enhance the amenity of the laneway while also providing a sense of wonder and interest".

It said that “ideally” the project would become “a destination in itself”.

Councillor Kevin Duffy recently mocked the proposal in an interview with The Orange News Examiner, saying sarcastically that Orange’s new $200,000 laneway would attract tourists. “I can see them flying in from Brisbane,” he said.

Thirty-nine artists each submitted an expression of interest. Four were commissioned to prepare detailed design proposals.

The 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

Joel Adler’s Confluence. Supplied.

Two of the four - Daniel Templeman’s Aperture and Joel Adler’s Confluence - were selected to proceed to OCC’s Your Say platform.

The OCC papers state that engagement involved “door knocking to every business that connects to or neighbours the laneway and an online survey to gain the opinions of the wider community, that was active for one month and promoted on Council’s social media platforms”.

“All those approached supported an upgrade of the laneway and noted the need for the laneway to be cleaned up and made an inviting space for both local residents and visitors,” council stated.

A link to the survey was also sent to each business owner/manager. Council said the online survey showed pictures of the laneway in its current state along with renders of the two shortlisted light installation options, with descriptions of each.

People were asked: “What do you think about the laneway upgrade?” and a text box field allowed them to leave a comment, with no word count restriction.

OCC said 263 people visited the survey and 98 left responses.

“Of those 98 responses:

  • 70 people were in full support;

  • 14 people said they were supportive but didn’t like either of the designs;

  • 10 people were against the project;

  • 4 people didn’t leave a comment.”

Council said the project was “well received” on its social media posts.

“Combined the posts reached over 3500 people (approximately) and received over 80 ‘likes’ showing support. Eight comments were left on the posts in total, showing mixed reviews.

“Based on the above data it is recommended that Council resolves to move forward with the project, in line with the recommendation from the Public Art Panel for Daniel Templeman’s design to be installed.”

The Orange News Examiner found two OCC posts on Facebook about the project. One - from June 17, 2023 - had been given 23 thumbs up symbols, however this included two councillors and at least three council staff.

This post attracted 20 comments, but 13 of them had been hidden by the council's Facebook page administrator. Of the seven comments published, one was sarcastically in support, four liked the idea but wanted local artists used, one was against and one was in favour.

The post had been shared by a reader and attracted a further 10 thumbs up.

The second Facebook post was from July 18, 2023. This attracted 10 thumbs up symbols, but at least two were from council staff.

Of the five comments, one was hidden and one was openly in favour. The comment in favour was from councillor Glenn Floyd.

The Orange News Examiner published a story on the laneway project on June 27, 2023. We shared it on two Facebook pages.

It attracted over 100 comments, of which more than 60 were clearly against and seven were clearly in favour. Across these two shares on Facebook there were 26 thumbs up, five hearts, five angry faces and 11 laughing faces.

If councillors endorse the project on Tuesday night the successful artist will be notified, with “offsite fabrication taking place over the following six months. Installation would be over 10 days in late March 2024”.

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