Australian National Botanic Gardens Public Art Program
In 2000 the Gardens, supported by the Friends of the Gardens, commissioned Ms Pamille Berg of MGT Architects to develop a Public Art Master Plan for the ANBG. Following stakeholder consultation and the approval of the Plan for implementation in late 2001, the Gardens engaged Ms. Berg as the ANBG Public Art Coordinator to oversee the inception of the Art Program and to coordinate the first commissioned work of art. Ms. Berg has been responsible for the inception and coordination of both small and large public art programs in public buildings in the Australia, Asia, and the USA for over twenty years.
As an integral part of the Master Plan, an ANBG Public Art Advisory Committee was established in February of 2002. This Advisory Committee is made up of experienced professionals and representatives of key stakeholders with expertise across the fields of botany, landscape architecture, public art coordination, community cultural development, visual art and contemporary craft, and visitor services in national institutions. Current members of this distinguished Committee include:
Dr. Gillian McCracken Director, Strategic Development, Museums & Galleries Foundation, Sydney
Mr. Allan Peggie Senior Associate, Dorrough Britz Landscape Architects, Canberra
Ms. Susan Conroy Cultural planner and community cultural development coordinator, Canberra
Mr. Jon Burchill Industrial designer & public art coordinator, MGT Architects, Canberra
Dr. Judy West Director Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Canberra
Mr. Stephen Frith Professor & Head of School of Environmental Design, University of Canberra
Mr Barrie Hadlow Stakeholder representative, Friends of the Gardens
Mr. Rodney Hayward Designer/maker and Head, Wood Workshop, Canberra School of Art, Australian National University
The Committees membership also includes the Director of the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Mr. Robin Nielsen, and is supported at a senior staff level by Sarah Chalkley, Manager of the Development Unit.
The role of the Committee is to provide professional comment and advice to the Gardens on proposals brought to it by the Gardens Public Art Coordinator, and to assist in the detailed planning and "visioning" of the ongoing implementation of the Master Plan.
The Gardens fosters a broad appreciation of the beauty and diversity of Australian plants, and its formal mission is "to grow, study, and promote Australian plants". The Gardens new Public Art Program aims to engage professional artists and craftspeople in the work of the ANBG and to encourage a thoughtful creative response to the Gardens, Australian plants and broader issues facing the Australian environment.
The purpose of site-specific public art in the Gardens is not conceived in the Master Plan as "decoration", but rather focuses on the capacity of contemporary art and craft to connect with, amplify, and interpret the core values of the Gardens. This interpretive role by contemporary art in the Gardens is one of continuously providing intelligent provocation and amplification of ideas for visitors and staff, and of the revealing of larger truths behind statements of fact.
Detailed descriptions of the Public Art Programs conceptual basis are provided in the Websites inclusion of the following chapters from the approved ANBG Public Art Master Plan:
Chapter 2. "Summary of the Conceptual Basis of the ANBG Public Art Master Plan: Art as an Interpreter of Environmental Identity, Sustainability, and the Mission of the Gardens
Chapter 3. "The ANBG Public Art Program Annual Commission and Program Element Typologies"
The first brief for a commission was issued in June 2002 and the works are currently being fabricated. The brief and expression of interest process are outlined in the documents below. A second brief and expression of interest are expected to be released in early 2004.
Chapter 2 [PDF Document 79 K]
Chapter 3 [PDF Document 1290 K]
Design brief for Sculptural Bollards for the Australian National Botanic Gardens
Julie Ryder, Art and the Bryophyte - the Gardens first Artist in Residence.