From 2009 – 2020, New Plymouth’s Art in Public Places Trust operated as an independent charitable trust to deliver New Plymouth District Council’s Art in Public Places Strategy (2008), which stated a vision that “New Plymouth District will be recognised nationally and internationally for excellence in public art.”
During that time the Trust sought, commissioned, fundraised, acquired, and installed ten major artworks, facilitated the public installation of many more smaller and temporary works, and was a regular commentator on the role and importance of public art in the district.
On establishment, the Trust was given $310,000 in seed capital – the then balance of funds accumulated for Council’s Art in Public Places Policy – and received a further $50,000 annually from NPDC – the amount previously budgeted for procuring substantial public art works. Further fundraising activities were undertaken by the Trust to achieve projects that had relevance to the site, stories of the district, and broader art practice.
The Trust works within Council guidelines and with local Iwi for the placement of art works on public land and must give consideration to quality, longevity, and strategically sited works that will compliment and reinforce design themes of the proposed locations.
The Trust sought to procure at least one major art work every two years, with every second work intended to be created by a Taranaki artist, or an artist with strong affiliations to the region. In line with Council’s strategy the Trust also worked with the Len Lye Foundation to recognise opportunities for commissioning more Len Lye works for public places.
The Trust’s preference has been to commission new works from artists rather than purchase existing works to ensure works are appropriate for a particular site and the public experience that is sought, though on occasion existing works have been acquired.
Factors considered by the Trust in the choice of artworks included:
- The time frame that an art work will be exhibited – whether temporary or permanent.
- The art work must be by an artist who is considered credible, whether local, national, or international.
- The Trust will be guided by experts in the field when choosing new art works.
- Art works may be in any medium deemed suitable by the Trust.
- Works must be able to stand up to the rigours of public display, whether elemental or human interaction.
- Suitability for and connection to available sites.
- Budget for commissioning and installation.
- Relevance to the district, its people and and its stories.
Detailed proposals by the Trust for Council’s endorsement include capital and ongoing operational costs of the art work and how it will be funded, how the work will be installed, how the work integrates with the site, ongoing maintenance, and any regulatory or compliance issues.
The Trust is driven by a small number of Trustees, who volunteer their time and expertise to deliver great artworks for the public good. In 2020 the Trust paused new commissions, pending a review of the overarching Public Art strategy.
We invite you to explore and enjoy the public art works on display, and watch this site for future developments in this space.