AN extraordinary pavilion constructed of paper rolls by staff and first year students at the University of Canberra, has temporarily transformed Civic Square.
The centrepiece of “DESIGN Canberra”, now in its 6th year, was unveiled to the public this morning (November 4) as the first event in the festival, which runs throughout the month with more than 200 events on its calendar.
Artistic director of the event and CEO of the hosting organisation, Craft ACT, Rachael Coghlan, thanked the ACT government for its $100,000 per annum support, now pledged for another two years.
Coghlan said that last year 112,844 people had been attracted to the festival and $177,000 was generated in sales by artists as the event brought design into the daily lives of the city.
The festival hub in Civic Square, she explained will host workshops, talks, tours, music, pop-up bars and activities such as yoga and social running.
The showpieces in Civic Square apart from the pavilion, are a painted ground design by artist Megan Hinton and a large-scale map of Canberra’s city centre created by illustrator Peita Blythe.
ACT Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay said: “Civic Square is looking as good as I can remember.”
The festival, he told those present at the morning launch, would encourage a sense of gathering, space and community in Canberra and its 2019 theme , “Utopia”, which had nothing to do with that TV show, reflected the idea of a city “that aims to be the best possible”.
City Renewal Authority chief executive Malcolm Snow said the authority, which also supports the festival, was seeking to reimagine and remake the city centre.
In his view, the involvement of art and design led to a competitive edge for any city and the aim was to make Civic Square the premier public space of this town.
Before Coghlan invited guests to head the outdoor public debate on “Visible Cities”, the executive dean of the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Arts and Design, Jason Bainbridge, drew attention to the first year students, wearing white for the launch, and said that for them Canberra had become “a canvas”.
“DESIGN Canberra,” various venues until November 24, all program details at designcanberrafestival.com.au