Kowhai Park castle mural

The castle at Kowhai Park, Whanganui

Public art on council buildings

For artwork on council-owned buildings, artists submit a proposal to the Public Art Steering Group.

The Public Art Steering Group is made up of people with expertise in the area of public art. The group uses its collective knowledge to assess proposals against Public Art Fund criteria.

Why we have this process

Whanganui has a reputation for art and creativity and is a UNESCO City of Design. Having a process is a way of ensuring that all artists have a fair chance to apply to create works for public structures and spaces and that high quality art is installed that suits the location.

When the process is followed, community stakeholders also get the opportunity to have input into the content of the artwork.

Decision on the Kowhai Park mural

A mural on the Kowhai Park castle was started in November without approval. The artist was requested to stop work and council staff helped her prepare a proposal which went to the Public Art Steering Group’s May meeting for discussion.

The artist has successfully had funding and approval from the Public Art Steering Group for murals in the past but in this case they unanimously agreed that some of the imagery wasn’t suitable for younger children and highlighted potential copyright issues with the cartoon characters.

The significance of the Kowhai Park castle

Kowhai Park is a unique community playground and park appreciated by locals and known around the country. The Kowhai Park castle was partly designed by prominent modernist architect, Don McCallum, as part of the architectural team Prince, McCallum & Harvey.

What happens next

The exterior walls of the Kowhai Park castle will be painted one colour to keep the castle as close to its original form as possible.