Art lovers to draw link between past and future for iconic alley

04 February 2022

A unique opportunity for artists to leave their mark on a heritage throughfare dating back to the 1860s, Bottle Alley, has opened.

From Lincoln Austin’s Standing in Tulmur Place to Rachel Sarra’s Distant Country in Bell Street, Ipswich has embraced public art.

Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Chairperson Councillor Marnie Doyle said a new public art project is offering local, interstate and international creatives a chance to put their artistic vision and talent on full display in the heart of the city.

“Ipswich City Council is calling for expressions of interest (EOI) to re-imagine Bottle Alley,” Cr Doyle said.

“Council recognises that art improves our public spaces, strengthens local identity, and cultivates a sense of place.

“In recent years, public art has been a key focus of the Ipswich Central revitalisation with several new works from artists including Lincoln Austin, Rachael Sarra, Kim Ah Sam and Kyra Mancktelow, and Fintan Magee.

“Art is also a significant contributor to our local economy that draws people to local businesses and galleries and fosters cultural tourism through regionally significant events like SPARK Ipswich.”

Cr Doyle said an EOI process will enable council to gather information and concepts from artists to help ensure the most fitting concept for Ipswich residents and visitors is delivered in Bottle Alley.

“As the unique canvas may be best utilised through a combination of mediums including mural, sculpture, digital, and light, the EOI will accept submissions from individuals as well as consortiums of creators,” Cr Doyle said.

“Sitting alongside new restaurants in the proposed Eats building, and as a gateway to Tulmur Place, this public art will help set the mood when entering the Nicholas Street Precinct.

“Bottle Alley is an important connection between Top of Town and the new precinct and I regularly speak with residents who would like it given a significant makeover.

“Investigations are underway to explore improvements including additional wayfinding, new screening to replace the existing Queensland Rail security fence, and a potential widening of the alley.”

Deputy Mayor and Ipswich Central Redevelopment Committee Deputy Chairperson Councillor Nicole Jonic said the theme for the project is the ‘Lost Buildings of Ipswich Central’.

“Bottle Alley is a laneway that joins Ellenborough Street with the Nicholas Street Precinct, parts of which date back more than 150 years,” Cr Jonic said.

“Our city has a rich heritage, and this theme is to guide the artwork in connecting our history with and future using modern and innovate techniques to create an artwork that will appeal to our community.

“It will be one of Ipswich Central’s larger pieces of artwork with more than 60 metres of open-air wall space available as canvas, stretching up to three metres in height, followed by more even more space available in a tunnel opens next to a proposed outdoor eating area.”

Council has held several engagement sessions as part of the Ipswich Central Revitalisation with members of the public suggesting Ipswich laneways and alleyways be activated to encourage exploration and pedestrian movement.

The expression of interest will close 2pm, Tuesday 15 March 2022 and is open to artists and designers across Australia and internationally.

More information on the EOI is available on Shape Your Ipswich here.