By Melissa Blewitt
The ‘Utes in the Paddock’ installation near Condobolin has been recognised among Australia’s Best Street Art drawcards.
Touted as one of the best public art experiences in the nation, the unique project has been shortlisted for the 2020 Australian Street Art Awards’ Best Sculpture Park or Trail prize.
“This is a big achievement for the Lachlan Shire community and recognises the importance of the display to our visitor economy,” Lachlan Shire Mayor John Medcalf OAM stated.
“It is pleasing to see the hard work of Council paying off through national recognition and we are over the moon to be announced as a finalist in the Best Sculpture Park or Trail category.”
Awards Director, Liz Rivers, said “The Awards showcase towns like Condobolin that are using outdoor art to transform their infrastructure and street scapes, while educating Australians about the magnificent array of publicly-accessible art that can be found in every corner of the country.
“Securing a finalist berth in the prestigious Awards further cements the Central NSW region’s reputation as bucket list destination for tourists who love to seek out art experiences.”
Judging focussed on the way the art has been used to attract visitors and bring the local community together safely under the challenging COVID-19 conditions.
“With COVID restrictions on indoor numbers in most states and territories, street and public art is a free gift to every traveller,” Ms Rivers explained.
“What started off as a seed of an idea by a local farming couple who were travelling America’s famous Route 66 has blossomed into a truly unique sculpture park where visitors to the Condobolin Tourism Precinct can see an outdoor gallery of 20 utes transformed into artistic masterpieces by some of Australia’s best known outback artists,” a statement from Lachlan Shire Council on Monday, 15 February said.
“The judges were impressed that Lachlan Shire Council has invested heavily in purchasing 25 acres to showcase the utes in the best light and have pursued getting the artists’ agreement to promote the utes in new ways.
“That is important because 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: Connecting the Country 2020 Report.”
“Australia has a long history of creating sculptures, monuments and other street art that is captivating to visitors. However, until two years ago there was no way of rewarding towns and precincts that created these art-related experiences for visitors. The Australian Street Art Awards has remedied that shortcoming,” Ms Rivers concluded.
The winners in all eight Australian Street Art Awards categories will be announced on Tuesday 2 March on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.