Auckland City Council sought our help when they wanted to take a comprehensive look at their public art activities and their role in supporting, commissioning and legislating for public art in Auckland. Rob Garrett was asked to provide advice on council policy, processes, funding and organisational structure. The former Auckland City Council (now amalgamated into the region-wide Auckland Council) was seeking improvements that would better align their public art programme with best practice and their vision for Auckland.
Auckland City Council faced a number of challenges:
Our work included in-depth arts sector and stakeholder consultations (through interviews, artist forums and advisory groups), best practice research, baseline data gathering and analysis, and the identification of issues and solutions. The project drew on our long experience in the visual arts, our expertise in leading and managing complex art projects, our ability to translate across different values and language cultures (for instance between the art world and the regulatory environment of council), our strategic thinking, and our ability to understand the complexities of political and community stakeholder environments.
The new public art policy included four overarching goals which provided the strategic context and direction for all public art planning:
Following the review completion and the approval of the new public art policy in 2008 Council sought our continued assistance with planning the implementation of the new structures. During this phase our work included preparing work-in-progress background reports; writing policy and management guidelines; undertaking further research on suitable funding models; assisting with recruitment; and advising on site-selection and artist-selection for ongoing public art projects.
Looking back, and according to the testimony of others in Council and across the arts sector, we achieved an astounding transformational shift in the culture, practice and capability of public art planning, resourcing and delivery.
The key elements of Auckland's transformation shift from 2008 included establishing:
Art in public places: Auckland City Council’s public art policy was released in August 2008.