By Melissa Blewitt
The Lachlan Shire’s Utes in the Paddock installation has been named as one of the best public art experiences in the country
Created by Jana and Graham Pickles from Burrawang West Station and originally installed in the paddock at Ootha on the Station, the utes were moved to Condobolin around three years ago.
The installation took out the top prize at the annual Australian Street Art Awards, which were held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland on 2 March.
Nominated by Lachlan Shire Council, the Gold Award, was given for the Best Sculpture Park or Trail at the event.
Utes in the Paddock nudged out the Walcha Open Air Gallery, a collection of 55 sculptures and artworks by renowned artists, which took out the Silver Award, and Bronze Award winner, The Lake Dunn Sculpture Trail, the world’s longest free sculpture trail with 40 scrap metal pieces in the Queensland outback by Mylinda Rogers.
“This is a huge achievement for the Lachlan Shire community and will provide a huge boost to our visitor economy,” Lachlan Shire Mayor John Medcalf OAM stated.
“The Australian Street Art Awards educate travellers about outdoor art that can be found in every corner of Australia, and encourages them to see Australia first.
“With the sculpture trail being developed as well as the Visitor Information Centre – the gold medal winning Utes in the Paddock is likely to attract a significant number of visitors to our Shire.”
The Australian Street Art Awards encourages Australians to explore the world-class street and public art that is safely accessible all year round and found in every corner of the country. With rigorous judging by tourism leaders from across Australia and abroad, plus second tier auditing and due diligence, Lachlan Shire Council’s win has the credence of the art tourism sector.
The judges said, “This unique sculpture park is contributing significantly to making Australia a more vibrant, creative and interesting country – somewhere visitors will want to explore more keenly.”
Arts tourists from within Australia are high value visitors – they stay 42.8 per cent longer and spend 55.9 per cent more when travelling than domestic tourists overall, according to the Australia Council for the Arts’ Domestic Art Tourism 2020 Report.
“Australia has a long history of creating superlative public art that captivates visitors. Until these Awards were launched in 2019 though there had never been a way of rewarding and supporting places like the Lachlan Shire that created these art-related experiences for travellers. The Australian Street Art Awards remedied that shortcoming,” Awards Director, Liz Rivers, added.
“Australia has a long history of creating superlative public art that captivates visitors. Until these Awards were launched in 2019 there had never been a way of rewarding and supporting destinations like Condobolin, Gunnedah, West Wyalong, Walcha and Ungarie that create these stunning art-related experiences for travellers.
“Public art has now come into its own with the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirming there is less risk of coronavirus infection in open outdoor settings. That makes trips to see outdoor murals, sculptures, monuments and mega pieces like silo art the perfect holiday thrill.”
In commenting on the success of Utes in the Paddock, the judges said ´This is without doubt one of the quirkiest tourism attractions in the country and the notion of handing 20 classic utes over to 20 outback artists to create 20 works that are destined to tickle your funny bone is truly inspired.”
“The name that artist Stephen Coburn has given his masterpiece, Ute-opia, sums up what visitors will experience from an art tourism perspective then they visit this unusual exhibition.”
Other 2020 winners are: Best of the Best: Karoonda Silo Art, Karoonda SA; Best External Mural: Kapunda Lucas Street Mural, Kapunda SA; Best Landmark Sculpture: ‘Language of the Land”,
Eidsvold QLD; Best Mega Mural: Karoonda Silo Art, Karoonda SA; Best Metropolitan Art: Mindeerup Public Art, South Perth WA; Best Monument or Memorial: Gallipoli to Armistice Memorial, Maryborough, QLD; Best Rural Art: Yelarbon Graincorp Silo Art, Yelarbon QLD; Best Street Art Trail: Heesco Town – Yarram, Vic..
The Lachlan Shire’s Utes in the Paddock installation has taken out the Gold Award at the annual Australian Street Art Awards, which were held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland on 2 March. The Award was given for the Best Sculpture Park or Trail at the event. Image Credit: Melissa Blewitt.