Tamworth Regional Council unveils new Bicentennial Park artwork 'to hold place'

A NEW $85,000 artwork unveiled in Bicentennial Park is hoped to attract people to move to the city.

September 30, 2021

The council budgeted to spend $35,000 on the new artwork and the project came in under budget partly thanks to a $10,000 grant.

The generosity of time and materials donated from members of the community covered the remaining cost of the project.

Tamworth Regional Council revealed the work on Thursday, and art gallery and museums director Bridget Guthrie said the steel cable structure was a "unique piece" that reflected the city's history of textile artwork.

"Public art is very much about cultural tourism," she said.

"The economic benefit for the town is actually amazing. People move here because of things like public art."

The work took three or four people a year to fabricate, cost between $80,000 and $85,000 and required an entirely new industrial process.

"This work is actually an exceptional example of a cost-effective project, we received over $10,000 for a cultural gift donation from the community, plus we've received material and in-kind support. The cost to council has been less than half of the actual total of the project," she said.

Deputy mayor Phil Betts said the piece, known as 'To Hold Place', was a worthwhile investment by council.

"It's very, very exciting and it is a good spend for council," he said.

"It really puts Tamworth on the cultural art framework and on the map. If you look at many of the streets in Canberra there's art, and people come from all over Australia and all over the world to see that art. It will have the same effect here in Tamworth and the region."

Artist Lucy Irvine worked alongside the council and Moonbi fabricator Raymond McLaren of Andromeda Industries for 24 months to create the sculpture out of world class steel cable.

Ms Irvine said the artwork is a "gathering or meeting point, a city centre landmark and a marker for new narratives and it also celebrates Tamworth's nationally significant textile collection in the public domain".

Ms Guthrie said public art was about showing Tamworth is a progressive city, that is advancing as a regional centre.

The artwork will be lit from below at nighttime, so it can be seen even after dark.

To Hold Place will be a permanent fixture in Bicentennial Park across from Bob Janes T-Mart and the Terrace cafe.

Article credit: Andrew Messenger, Northern Daily Leader

Photo credit: Gareth Gardner

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