The Lighthouse sculpture

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The Lighthouse sculpture, highlighting the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse and the history and creativity of the area was commissioned from five expressions of interest and built on the Bayshore Drive roundabout in December 2018.

At 12 metres high the controversial sculpture generated a lot of interest in the community and further afield.

Despite being in a location that was not easily accessible, people were climbing the sculpture and it became an unacceptable safety risk. 

It was decommissioned in December 2019.  

The birds from the sculpture were sold to the public and live on in people's homes and gardens locally and in other parts of Australia.

Background

The aim of the public art project was to create an entry statement into Byron Bay.  An innovative piece was sought, incorporating elements of light considering the thriving night-time economy in Byron Bay.  

This was Council's first investment in a major piece of art in the Shire.

The Bayshore Drive roundabout is at a major intersection of Ewingsdale Rd and Bayshore Drive.  It is the main entrance to the Byron Arts and Industrial Estate, and access to the Sunrise Beach residential area. 

Expressions of interest were called, and The Lighthouse was chosen as the preferred concept by Council's Public Art Panel (PAP).

Decommissioning and Bird Sale

The decision to decommission and remove The Lighthouse sculpture, on the Bayshore Drive roundabout in Byron Bay, was made at a Council meeting on 22 August 2019.   

The sculpture was decommissioned on 18 September 2019. As part of the decommissioning process, Council resolved to sell the undamaged birds that featured in the sculpture.

Council received expressions of interest from approximately 1500 people who wanted to buy birds. 3476 undamaged birds were successfully removed from the sculpture.   All the birds were sold in December 2019, with almost 1200 people making purchases.

The total amount raised through the sale was approximately $64,000 (ex GST). After deducting expenses, Council resolved to divide the remaining funds from the sale evenly between the development of an arts and cultural policy and projects working to reduce homelessness.

Why was the Lighthouse sculpture decommissioned?

A staff report to the Council meeting outlined several incidents of people climbing the sculpture, attaching stuffed toys and flags and taking photographs in the centre of the roundabout over recent months.

The sculpture was not designed to be climbed and, because of the height and location of the artwork, there were real concerns about the potential for serious personal injury as well as the risk of compromising the structural integrity of the installation. 

 

Public Art Strategy

Council adopted a Public Art Strategy(PDF, 8MB) in August 2018 which was developed to drive the vision for public art in the Byron Shire.

The Strategy creates a platform for larger, more substantial permanent artworks that will have longevity. It takes a cohesive approach and recommends commissioning some pieces that are diverse, contemporary and distinctive.

The Public Art Panel's aim is to make art more accessible to our community.  By its very nature, public art is often controversial.