What is public art?

Public Art is any art within public spaces like parks, streets, buildings and other areas the public uses. It can take on many forms ranging from a large permanent sculpture, to a temporary performance or ephemeral projection project.

Public Art creates opportunities for members of the public to encounter art within their community. It can inspire, surprise, challenge and stimulate the public, opening up the possibilities for new connections and surprising encounters within our civic environment. It can create a sense of identity and give voice to local communities. Public Art is for everyone, it can start lively debates and feed into the texture of a community.

Public Art can also be a reflection of the community at a particular moment in time, and it offers exciting new opportunities for us to understand who we are and what is important to us.

Our Public Art program is built around Merri-bek's remarkable cultural diversity, and the depth of creative talent that live and work in our thriving creative community.

The key principles that we work toward when commissioning or proposing Public Art Projects are works that:

  • stimulate creativity, expression and innovation by artists and communities
  • stimulate healthy debate
  • have artistic integrity
  • increase community awareness and appreciation of art
  • recognise, acknowledge and celebrate Merri-bek's distinct Indigenous culture and its connections to the land
  • interpret and celebrate the area's unique heritage and identity
  • celebrate local community, cultural and/or geographic diversity
  • provide an artistic and cultural outlet through which communities can develop and articulate their sense of place
  • provide landmarks and local icons that engender a sense of pride and identity
  • promote cultural expression that is original, relevant and of significance to the artists and arts practice within the municipality

Each work that is commissioned by Merri-bek City Council becomes part of the Merri-bek Public Art Collection - a collection that encompasses over 60 objects spanning the past 50 years.

As well as the Moreland public art collection, Council runs MoreArt - an annual exhibition of temporary public art that activates public spaces through commissioned site-specific projects.

In all of our work, we are guided by the Public Art guidelines and the Creative Capital Arts and Culture Strategy 2017-22, which can be viewed at the below links: