Panel shapes new building’s art
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The Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s Art Curator Ivy Baddock

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead’s Art Curator Ivy Baddock is among a talented of group of Sydney-based arts professionals charged with helping recommend artists for more than a dozen stunning pieces as part of the Arts and Culture Strategy for the $1 billion Westmead Redevelopment project.

Ivy and her predecessor – Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network board member and noted art historian Joanna Capon OAM – form part of an eight-person Peer Assessment Panel which will help inform decisions around the commissioning of artists for a number of key installations in and around the new hospital building and the Innovation Centre. The panel is full of arts and arts administrations knowledge, drawing heavily from western Sydney.

Other panel members include:

  • Marily Cintra, the executive director of the Health and Arts Research Centre, which has been contracted by the redevelopment team to firstly come up with, and then implement, the Westmead Redevelopment project’s Arts and Culture Strategy
  • Indigenous arts administrator Matt Poll
  • Parramatta Artists’ Studios co-ordinator Sophia Kouyoumdjian
  • Western Sydney arts and culture veteran John Kirkman
  • Arts-sciences specialist Katie Dyer
  • Arts and festivals freelancer and former professional ballet dancer Michael Campbell

“I’m thrilled to be part of this exciting project and I can’t wait to see the concept designs for these artworks,” Ivy said.

“I expect the quality of the work to be high and that will mean some tough decisions, but in the end it will ensure we will have the very best therapeutic artworks installed in the redevelopment.”

Ivy and her fellow panel members will provide recommendations to the Westmead Redevelopment Arts and Culture Advisory Committee as to which artists should be commissioned to complete the art projects, of which there are 14 in total. These installations – ranging from a depiction of a river to a cultural gathering place inspired by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customs to a depiction of the “Tree of Life” – form the cornerstone of the strategy.

Once the committee endorses the panel’s recommendations, artists are then approached to develop concept designs based on the individual briefs, the broad concepts of which were decided upon earlier in the project. From these designs, artists will be chosen to deliver the works ahead of the expected completion of the new hospital building in 2020.

Committee member Dr Meg Phelps said patients, staff, students and families were top of mind when planning work around these spaces began, and she provided a hint of what to except in about 18 months’ time.

“As well as fresh, new buildings designed with the patient and carer in mind, everyone will experience open, light-filled spaces with good access,” she said.

“These will be complemented by a series of major art pieces, representing all that is positive about Westmead and the communities it belongs to and serves. Some major pieces will help tell these stories and create a healing place.”

Prof Dominic Dwyer, also on the committee, praised the idea of a peer assessment panel.

“To do art at the highest level, just like with medicine, you need people with the right experience and vision,” he said.

“The (Westmead Redevelopment project) is bringing together patients, staff and communities: using art to help bridge these groups requires careful and expert assistance.”

It is anticipated the Peer Assessment Panel will wrap up their recommendations in early-2019, allowing time for artists to develop their concept design for a final decision from the Committee on which artists will be commissioned for the Arts and Culture Strategy. A number of the projects will be developed and prepared for installation by mid-2019.

The Westmead Redevelopment project’s Arts and Culture Advisory Committee is made up of representatives of the various Westmead Redevelopment partners, including the Western Sydney Local Health District, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, the University of Sydney, plus project managers PwC and Multiplex, who are constructing the new hospital building.

Download a copy of the Arts and Culture Strategy.

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