City centre public art

City centre public art

Changing the face of the city centre

From nearly 700 expressions of interest from artists from 25 countries, the first 3 artworks under the City Centre Public Art Plan have been unanimously selected by a distinguished panel.

The public art plan is part of the City of Sydney’s $220 million contribution to the NSW Government’s light rail project that will transform the city with major public domain upgrades, including new infrastructure and the pedestrianisation of George Street,

“These works all rise to the most challenging brief to bring a focus, distinction and richness to Sydney’s vision for its prime civic spaces through the creativity of the world’s best artists. Together, the 3 form a rich tapestry that will add memorable contemporary works of art that are unique to place and time,” the panel said on reaching its decision.

The artworks are the first 3 projects from the City’s $9.3 million City Centre Public Art Plan, which was developed in collaboration with Sydney-based international curator Barbara Flynn.

The works were chosen by a panel that included Ms Flynn, the City’s Design Director, Bridget Smyth, and 4 members of the City’s Public Art Advisory Panel:

  • Lisa Havilah, Director of Carriageworks
  • Richard Johnson, Professor of Architecture at UNSW
  • Janet Laurence, artist and College of Fine Arts visiting fellow
  • Anne Loxley, C3West curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art

The City will now begin a thorough design development process for all 3 works, including consultation with local businesses and residents. The works are expected to be installed from 2017 and when complete, they will become part of the City’s growing public art collection, City Art.

Sydney Your Say: public art discussion forum

The City acknowledges that good public art encourages community debate.

What is your response to the new city centre artworks?

First 3 artworks for the city centre


Junya Ishigami, Cloud Arch (detail), 2014. Painted steel. © Junya Ishigami.

Junya Ishigami – Cloud Arch

An elegant cloud-shaped arch that soars more than 50m above George Street outside Sydney Town Hall will be visible from many parts of the city centre and is set to become a landmark meeting place for Sydneysiders and visitors alike. Cloud Arch will be constructed of steel plates tapered and curved in 2 directions, and will act as a gateway to the newly pedestrianised section of George Street, with the light rail passing underneath it.

The unique new symbol for Sydney is the design of visionary Tokyo-based architect and artist Junya Ishigami – winner of the coveted Golden Lion for Best Project at the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale and visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Read more about the artist and the artwork


Tracey Emin, The Distance of Your Heart, 2013. drawing of sample placement of birds in corridor, Sydney. © Tracey Emin.

Tracey Emin – The Distance of Your Heart

At the city’s northern end on Bridge and Grosvenor streets and through the refurbished Kent Street underpass, The Distance of Your Heart will be made up of 60 delicate handmade bronze bird sculptures designed by acclaimed British artist Tracey Emin.

The bird sculptures will perch on poles, above doorways and awnings, enticing walkers along the thoroughfare.

Read more about the artist and the artwork


Hany Armanious, Pavilion (detail), 2014. Fibreglass, 13.5 x 15 x 15 metres. © Hany Armanious.

Hany Armanious – Pavilion

Adding a new dimension to the southern end of the city, a pavilion in the shape of an oversized milk crate will be installed in Belmore Park next to Central station.

Designed by Sydney-based, Egyptian-born artist Hany Armanious, Pavilion will be 13.7m high and offer a new public gathering space with seats and lighting.

Read more about the artist and the artwork

Junya Ishigami – ‘Cloud Arch’

City Centre Public Art Plan

Last updated: Tuesday, 29 July 2014