A group of leading architects and designers will help select the artist to deliver an Urban Oasis in the heart of the Gold Coast in the city’s first major public art commission.

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast’s bustling tourist precinct with a vibrant nightlife, has been selected as the location for the city’s first major public art commission. The Urban Oasis installation will be located at the intersection of Surfers Paradise Boulevard and Elkhorn Avenue.

Mayor Tom Tate explained that Urban Oasis will signify the pivot point between Surfers Paradise as a precinct and the city’s future cultural heart in Evandale. Describing the site as the beginning of the cultural corridor, Cr Tate said they were looking for ideas that would transform it into a space where people want to dwell, admire the artwork or take a selfie.

The Urban Oasis design competition is open to local, national and international artists.

An independent jury chaired by Robyn Archer AO, the City’s Arts and Culture Strategic Advisor, will select up to five finalists and invite them to develop their designs further. The final artwork is expected to reflect the character of the coast, engage with the audience and ignite the imagination of locals and visitors.

Archer observes that the public art installation will be a beacon for the cultural aspirations of the city, and an enriching signal to the burgeoning development of the cultural precinct.

Comprising of a cross-section of industry and stakeholder representatives, the jury will select the winning entry for endorsement by the Council. The successful team will be invited to proceed to final installation by June 2016. The competition is open from 24 October to 16 December 2015.

Urban Oasis Design Competition Jury

Robyn Archer AO FAHA – Chair 

Robyn is a singer, writer, artistic director and public advocate for the arts. She joins this Jury as part of her current role as Strategic Advisor Arts and Culture for the City of Gold Coast. Robyn is also the Artistic Director of The Light in Winter, which she created for Melbourne’s Federation Square. Robyn was Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra 2013. She is Deputy Chair of The Australia Council, a Member of the Council for Australia and Latin America Relations (COALAR), and has just been appointed Chair of NIDA’s inaugural Master of Fine Arts in Cultural Leadership.

Barry Lee

Barry Lee from DBI Architects has been responsible for more than 30 significant high-rise developments including the design of the ‘Wave Tower’ and ‘Q1 world’s tallest residential tower’. In addition Barry has extensive experience in the field of resort master planning and 5 star international hotel design. A former Surfers Paradise Alliance Board Member, Barry is well placed to ensure the proposed artwork fits well with the site and place. Barry’s philosophy is to combine a focus on human quality of life and environmental sustainability with dynamic and expressive architectural forms in an attempt to comfort and inspire.

Cameron McLeod

A landscape architect and urban designer, Cameron is an experienced and passionate advocate for providing competent and innovative urban design outcomes to satisfy a diversity of cultural, social, economic and environmental situations for any community corner project of the world. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts – Environmental Design from the University of Tasmania. Cameron joins the Jury as the nominated representative from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.

Greg Ewart

Greg Ewart has over 20 years of diverse architectural experience, including a long association with the Gold Coast. He has managed his own practice - Fluid Architecture, and was previously Director at BDA Architecture. He is currently Associate Director at Elenberg Fraser. Greg has a keen interest in the design and built form across the Gold Coast, and has been an active leader in the architectural community. He is Chair of the Gold Coast Northern Rivers Region of the Australian Institute of Architects, where he works closely with colleagues and leaders including the office of City Architect, UDIA, Property Council, National Trust, Council and local government. He has recently initiated the first ‘Gold Coast Open’ House event as a means of showcasing this city’s cultural and built heritage and contemporary architecture.

Isabelle Oliveri

Isabelle Oliveri is the Founder, Director and Principal Designer of a small dynamic practice; Studio IOD, Isabelle Oliveri Design based in Melbourne. With a background in architectural and retail design and nearly 25 years in the industry, Isabelle has accrued a wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry. Isabelle is currently working with Precision Group of Companies and is the Retail Design Manager for Chevron Renaissance Shopping Centre, a key stakeholder in the Urban Oasis Public Art project.

John Witheriff

John Witheriff is one of Australia’s foremost corporate, governance and risk practitioners. Since the light rail project’s procurement phase in 2010 he has been providing strategic direction for the GoldLinQ consortium, and has been the Chairman of the GoldLinQ board from financial close in June 2011. John has been involved in all aspects of the light rail project including procurement, delivery, local industry participation and now operations.

He is passionate about the Gold Coast and is involved in a variety of organisations important to the Gold Coast and the wider Queensland community ranging from the Gold Coast SUNS, the Commonwealth Games through to the Plenary Schools project building and operating 10 schools in Queensland. John has garnered many community and government accolades for his contribution to the law and industry, including Gold Coast Citizen of the Year.

Virginia Rigney

Senior Curator at Gold Coast City Gallery since 2003, Virginia has worked on a variety of exhibitions and events – many of which seek to draw out the cultural history and contemporary visual character of the Gold Coast.

Her external roles have included Chair of the Curatorial Panel of art+place, the $14 million Queensland Government Fund for Public Art administered by Arts Queensland from 2007 – 2010, reappointed to the panel for an additional year in 2011. She is also a member of the Advisory Panel for the Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University and a selector for the Swell Sculpture Festival 2012 and 13, and was invited to curate an exhibition for the 2013 Canberra 100 Festival.

Information and registration: moregoldcoast.com.au/publicart

Video for artists: https://youtu.be/OMPPo6Abzog