Arts & cultural development

The City of Canada Bay has a place-based approach to public arts and cultural development. Each project is developed with local knowledge, in partnership with key stakeholders to create meaningful installations and activities in a range of localities.

Council's Cultural Plan 2015-2021 sets the strategic direction for producing a range of contemporary arts programs that span the visual and performing arts, digital arts, public art and social history. The Plan articulates a suite of directions to lead the development of Council's cultural program. These are:

  • Partnerships, policies and protocols
  • Cultural infrastructure
  • Creative industries
  • Town centres and urban environments
  • Local environments and river foreshores
  • Cultural heritage and
  • Community cultures.

Cultural Plan and Public Art Strategy 2015-2021

Council adopted the Cultural Plan and Public Art Strategy on 24 February 2015. The Cultural Facilities Report forms part of the Councils development contributions plan. Documents are available to download below.

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The Digital Gallery at The Connection, Rhodes

The City of Canada Bay is committed to providing high quality public art and exhibitions that support and enhance our cultural and community precincts, and our engagement with the people that visit them. As part of this commitment we are seeking artworks to be exhibited in The Digital Gallery within The Learning Space, Rhodes.

Council is seeking artworks which will be curated into The Digital Gallery by The Learning Space team. Types of artworks can include (but are not limited to) video, photography, animation, VR, AR, sound, and sculpture. All artworks must be appropriate for general viewing.

We wish to engage work that addresses at least one of the following criteria:

  • Exhibits exploratory or playful approaches to using digital media
  • Broadens the creative possibilities relating to emerging or everyday technologies
  • Promotes engagement or interaction with the local community and visitors using the space 
  • Involves languages other than english, or visual and non-language communication methods
  • Engages a broad audience including children and people from non-english speaking backgrounds.

Artists will be paid a once-off fee per exhibited artwork. For more information and how to apply, please view the full Artist Brief below.

Application due Sunday 14 April 2019.

All submissions and enquiries should be directed to, The Learning Space Program Officer at the City of Canada Bay.

Open public art commissions

Expression of Interest (EOI)  Public Artwork for Station Precinct Rhodes

Invitation to register EOI for Concept Design (Stage 1 – EOI) & Design Development (Stage 2 – Selective Tender) for the development and installation of The Station Precinct Public Art.

The City of Canada Bay is seeking Expressions of Interest from artists for a public artwork in the Station Precinct, Rhodes. The work should integrate broader directions in place making and themes outlined in the Public Art plan for Rhodes. This exciting project seeks to establish strong connections with the local community.

The main themes are in relation to the histories and stories of the local community. The process of social transformation from pre-colonial indigenous cultures, to industrial uses of the site then to urban renewal is an important story. Artworks could explore links with the past industrial history of the peninsular or connections between the river as a place of flux, change, and mode of transportation critical to its success.

Station Precinct is a 3.15 hectare site in central Rhodes, to the west of Rhodes Train Station. The Master Plan for this development site incorporates new mixed use development (including 1,400 new dwellings and a retail and commercial hub) and public open space.  A unique feature of the project is a heliostat architectural feature on one of the towers, which will guide sunlight to Rhodes Union Square. Future stages will involve additional residential towers, retail and commercial space and a multi-purpose leisure centre funded through contributions from a Voluntary Planning Agreement with Council.


The vision is for a public artwork to be developed for a new pocket park in Station Precinct, Rhodes. The art is to be innovative, vibrant, have integrity, and be of the highest quality. It is to connect with the local culturally diverse community and environment to create a meaningful sense of place. Objectives require the artwork be integrated into the open space, and to be contemporary and relevant.

As such, Council is seeking EOI from innovative architectural public artists that have experience in public domain projects valued up to $300,000. Artists wishing to submit an EOI for this project must provide the requested information outlined in the EOI document. The closing date and time for EOI submissions is Tuesday, 11 June at 2pm. Interested parties are required to register via the e-Tendering Portal to download documents.

All enquiries should be directed via the Tenderlink portal. If you experience difficulties accessing the above website please call the Tenderlink helpdesk on 1800 233 533.

Integrated Public Art at Station Precinct Rhodes

The vision is for a major public artwork to be integrated into the architectural design and surrounds of the precinct. The art is to be innovative, vibrant, have integrity, and be of the highest quality. It is to connect with the local culturally diverse community and environment to create a meaningful sense of place. Objectives require the artwork be integrated into the built environment, and to be contemporary and relevant.

The opportunity is for an artist to create a fretwork design to be integrated into key building columns and elements along the Walker Street entrances to the site. Fretwork is a decorative design or low relief, or cut outs on a solid background. Fretwork is commonly used to adorn/decorate architecture, and was originally an ornamental design.

All submissions and enquiries should be directed to:

Stephanie Kelly, Manager Place Management

Download briefs here.

Aeolian Migration Public Art Project-Piazza Eolie

The City of Canada Bay in partnership with the Aeolian Association have produced three artworks collectively known as Piazza Eolie and will form a showcase to celebrate the community’s contribution to our City.

Piazza Eolie Sculptures

The Aeolian Community is one of Canada Bay’s earliest Italian migrant settlers group, they arrived here in the early 1900 as refugees from the volcanic eruption that took place at the time. The Aeolian Islands are a volcanic archipelago (made up of 8 Islands) in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, off the coast of Italy and named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus.  

Piazza Eolie Sculptures were developed by local artist Nola Diamantopoulos

The fishing boat sculpture is created to represent the journey of the Eolian community to Australia, and its elements are inspired by Eolian folk law and traditions.  

It tells one of the miracle stories of St Bartholomew, the patron saint chosen by the Eolian’s from the Isle of Lipari. Once, on a St Bartholemew’s feast day, the islanders were carrying the statue of their saint through the town. Suddenly, the statue felt heavier, so heavy the men were forced to put it down.  They only made it a few steps further before it was again too heavy to carry. On the third attempt, the men could barely lift it and were  unable to move it forward. At that moment, further downhill a wall collapsed. If the statue had been able to be lifted, all the townspeople would have been killed.  

The boat sculpture is symbolic of the mystery of a journey that, sooner or later, reveals its purpose. This boat is gently tilted on its side, suggesting that the landing in Australia was purposeful and that the Eolian community were destined to be here to the enrichment of the Australian culture.  

The God of Wind, Aeolus, is represented in a mosaic on the boat to remind us that we alone cannot steer our life.  

The fish sculpture benches are an homage to the fishing villages of the Eolian Islands. The mosaic design of the fish that sits within the bench was inspired by a classical mosaic called ‘Asaraton’, which means ‘unswept floor’ and the mosaic floor was inlaid with representations of scraps of food that had fallen to the floor – hence the skeletal fish.    

This artwork was funded with support from Arts NSW.

Project information

The aim of the project is to work with the Aeolian Community to create a celebratory public art project with the following art elements:

  • Specifically designed seating
  • A sculptural entry statement.
  • Graphic arts / design for a mural
  • Banner flags were also produced.  

More information

Alexandra Reserve

Alexandra Reserve is a unique playground. Developed in collaboration with local residents and public artist Graham Charlcroft the design reflects the important ecology and attributes of the reserve. The sculptural play elements focus on cretive play and exploration - maximising the natural elements of the park and generating a stimulating free play environment.

Address: Alexandra Street, Drummoyne


This reserve holds particular significance for local children and their families as a place to play, gather and seek sanctuary. The community was central to the design of the play environment. Residents and their children were asked to explore the park and share what it was they valued about the park and how these elements could be creatively represented in the park's playscape. Through creative workshops participants developed  design drawings; used clay modelling; and  recorded their experiences of the park. See some of the design ideas here


Graham Chalcroft, a Sydney based sculptor and public artist, built upon this community cultural development process, exploring ecological and environmental themes through temporary and permanent site-specific artworks. From the community themes and ideas he created the two large sculptural pieces - the birds nest and spider's lair, which are the focal point in the park. He also painted and crafted the references to the ecology on the 'wormhole tunnel' and the bridge embankment walls as tactile images in the concrete. 

Play themes

The playscape theme is imagination and and adventure. The use of flexible spaces and different elements provide  different experiences. You can touch, see, hear and smell; encouraging discovery and play. the main types of activities offered are:

  • Discovery and imaginative play in the spaces and structures
  • Climbing the structures
  • Role playing
  • Hiding in the nest, wormhole tunnel and the trees
  • Digging and sculpting the sand.

For more information, please contact one of Council's Business Arts and Place team on 9911 6555 or send us an email.

Arts Plan for the Rhodes Peninsula

The Rhodes Peninsula, located in the City of Canada Bay Local Government Area lies astride the Parramatta River close to Sydney Olympic Park. It is one of Sydney's most significant post-industrial landscapes and represents a rapidly changing urban environment.

An important component of the renewal of the Rhodes Peninsula, which will result in a new urban community, is the cultural meaning associated with the area. As Rhodes completes its transition from a once heavy industrial site of the 20th century, to a new residential, business and commercial precinct of the 21st century, exploring the cultural meanings associated with the area are essential. Bringing a range of histories and stories associated with Rhodes' industrial past, environmental heritage, Parramatta River foreshore location and culturally diverse communities into the broader public sphere will assist in supporting local residents, visitors and workers in creating a cohesive community who together, can experience a strong sense of well being.    

Rhodes West Development Control Plan

The City of Canada Bay, in recognition of the role that Public Art has in connecting communities and creating a high quality public domain, has included the requirement of Public Art in the Rhodes West Development Control Plan (DCP). 

The Rhodes West DCP states:

  • All public art should be relevant to Rhodes West, be of a scale appropriate to the public realm, and be specific to time and place.
  • Development proposals are to include a public art strategy outlining how public art has been selected to suit the historic, environmental and social contexts of Rhodes West and contributes to a unique sense of place.
  • Public art is required at Shoreline Park North, Shoreline Park South and Rhodes Town Square.
  • Public art is encouraged in other publicly accessible locations such as main entrances, lobbies, street frontages, gardens, walls and rooftops.  
  • Consult with Council and community groups in the design and execution of public art.
  • Consider also public art that has an amenity function eg seating, street furniture - Rhodes West Development Control Plan Clause 4.2.11. 

Rhodes Peninsula Arts Plan

In 2011 the City of Canada Bay commissioned the development of the Rhodes Peninsula Arts Plan. Milne & Stonehouse and Guppy Associates were engaged to develop the Rhodes Peninsula Arts Plan to provide Council, developers and the Rhodes communities with direction and guidance for the delivery of Public Art across the Rhodes Peninsula.

The Arts Plan was adopted in 2012, and a series of Public Art projects will roll out. The Arts Plan identifies locations for Public Art including the foreshore, in parks, playgrounds and other areas of open space, in the town square, community centre and other places used by the community.

The development of the Arts Plan has been informed by community consultation and participation. This has included surveys, focus groups and interviews with Rhodes residents and other interested members of the community.

For more information please contact Council by email or on 9911 6555.

More information

Library tree art

A new public art opportunity has been launched to create three fabric trees for the Concord library. We are seeking artists to design, fabricate and install one of three sculpture pieces into existing large planter pots at Concord Library. The project aims to reinforce the value of tending to the growth of wisdom through literacy and numeracy.

Three of the pots are located inside, on the ground floor - two in the general reading area and the third in the café. The fourth is located outside, on the rear balcony. Each pot has its own theme.

The four themes are:

  1. Let me take a leaf out of your book
  2. The tree of knowledge
  3. The seed of an idea
  4. The pages of history.

In order to maintain coherence across a possibly diverse range of designs, a limited colour palette consisting of greens, browns and whites is imposed. The trees will be launched in Autumn.

Please refer to the Artists Brief for Concord Library Planter Pot for more information and an opportunity to respond to the brief.

Imag_ne public artwork at Cabarita Park

Internationally renowned artist, Emma Anna's artwork Imag_ne has been installed at Cabarita park. This installation aims to inspire the local community to imagine the many uses and opportunities The Conservatory will deliver when it opens this year. 

Background to Imag_ne

"Imagination is more important than knowledge…knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world." - Albert Einstein.

Originally conceived as the major project to support Emma Anna’s work towards a Masters in Public Art, Imag_ne has now been exhibited across Australia and internationally.  

The artwork is composed of large wordplay letters that spell out the word 'imagine’, although the second ‘i’ of the word is missing. This absence operates as a blank canvas, inviting the audience to physically engage with the work in order to complete the word.

Imag_ne debuted as part of Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi in late 2008, where it was awarded the SXS / Art Gallery of NSW Site Specific Prize. The work was then exhibited as part of Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe in March 2009 and as part of the Streets of Melbourne Festival at Federation Square in Melbourne in January 2009.  

Imag_ne was a key work in the inaugural Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus in Denmark staged in June 2009. More than 600,000 patrons visited SXS Denmark, making it the largest outdoor cultural event in Denmark’s history. Conceived as a unique cultural marriage between Australia and Denmark, the event patrons - Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary - had a long-held desire to bring SXS to Denmark.  

In Denmark, Imag_ne earned its reputation as a global work and was photographed extensively, proving as popular with the locals as it had in Australia.

Recently, Imag_ne has been shown as part of the Swell Sculpture Festival at Currumbin Beach and the Gold Coast Airport. A version of the work has also been commissioned by the City of Greater Dandenong in outer Melbourne for a unique six-year, 12-site program of temporary installations.  

From the seed of an idea, to a fully realised concept, to an internationally exhibited and highly acknowledged work, Imag_necontinues to inspire and delight a diverse public audience.  

The Artist

Emma Anna  
Born Sydney, 1975

Emma Anna is a visual artist, creative producer and freelance journalist whose work draws upon a diverse range of professional and personal experience. Prior to establishing her independent practice ANAGRAM in 2007, Emma worked as a senior designer and communications specialist within the design and architecture industries. This professional experience, combined with her tertiary qualifications in communications, graphic design and public art, are a unique combination that have enabled Emma to establish a successful independent career, working both nationally and internationally across a range of media.

Emma completed a Masters of Art (Art in Public Space) at RMIT University in late 2009. Her MA project Imag_ne was originally exhibited as part of Sculpture by the Sea in Bondi in 2008. Invitations to exhibit Imag_ne nationally, and internationally as part of the inaugural Sculpture by the Sea, Aarhus, Denmark, have greatly expanded the audience for this work.  

Emma has worked for local councils in a number of Australian states creating public projects with an emphasis on text, colour, modes of communication and the idea of ‘the mass’. She uses tools of language, popular culture, humour, universal symbolism and everyday technologies to help define both place and community.

Emma has held several solo exhibitions since 2005 and exhibited as a solo practitioner and in group shows in Australia, Europe and South America. Her work is held in a number of international public collections and private collections in the USA, South America, Europe and Australasia. She currently divides her time between Australia and the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

Related information

Public art

Public Art provides the perfect opportunity to communicate and represent cultural meanings. Public Art refers to a range of art work and art based activities that are located  in the public domain. Areas of public domain include open space, public buildings, parks, playgrounds, and anywhere else where the general public has access to. On a fundamental level the value of Public Art is to be found in the level of public benefit it provides to people regardless of their individual circumstances.

Public Art can include sculpture, place-making elements, wall embellishments, artist designed seating and fencing, paving work, lighting elements and other creative possibilities. Public Art can serve both as an aesthetic and functional purpose.

Embedding Public Art into the built environment is a well recognised way of generating character and identity into newly developed or renewal urban places. Public Art has a role in celebrating  through bringing into the public domain, the stories and relationships that communities have with places and spaces.

There are many sites around the City which present exciting opportunities for Public Art. It can be used as a way of improving the urban environment and public spaces, and also to celebrate the past, present and future of the local environment. Public Art can make a vital contribution to the experience of public places within cities and regional urban centres. 

'It is generally recognised that innovative, creative and animated public spaces have a competitive economic edge and enhance community capacity building, social interaction and quality of life' - Art and Place Policy Framework.     

More information

For more information please contact Council on 9911 6555 or send an email.


What it's about  

Reclamation was a creative research project with an environmental focus, that was supported by Arts NSW through the provision of a $40,000 grant. The research by leading local artists, thematically explored environmental sustainability and community engagement around the foreshore of Cabarita Park. It was developed from the Riverside Cultural Study.  

Cabarita Park was prioritised as the location for the delivery of Reclamation, as it has regional significance, rich heritage, and a prominent position on the Parramatta River. The current focus of Council activity in this park also means that this public art investment had maximum impact. This project was undertaken in consultation with the Friends of Cabarita Park and complimented other initiatives in the park, including the redevelopment of the playground, refurbishment of the heritage items and restoration of the gardens.

In addition to the Observatory sculptural elements a specially composed piece of music by leading (and local) Australian composer Katia Beaugeais and vocal artists Halcyon. This was performed for the first time on the 27 October at the Reclamation Exhibition. To listen to 'By the Water', performed by Halcyon, please head to our YouTube page.

The Popper Box Art Collective presented sculptural installations at that event. 

For more information, please contact one of Council's Business Arts and Place team on 9911 6555 or email

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Aqueous at Rhodes

City of Canada Bay in conjunction with Sydney Water commissioned artist Emma Anna to design and install a piece of public art on the Sydney Water Pump Station in Rhodes Foreshore Park on Shoreline Drive, Rhodes. 

Emma has designed Aqueous, a blue-hued, jigsaw-inspired artwork, which references the theme of water. The piece ties in with the Parramatta River, which snakes through the Canada Bay foreshore area, as well as having relevance to Rhodes, linking the community’s past to the present.

Aqueous is made of multiple, interlocking puzzle pieces, representative of individuals coming together to form a community. The puzzle pieces symbolise both people and water, acting as a metaphor for water management and the role an individual and the community play in preserving this natural asset for future generations.

The placement of Aqueous on the Sydney Water Pump Station adds another cultural element to our active and vibrant city, as well as acting as a deterrent for graffiti. The engaging piece complements The Connection, Rhodes Community Precinct situated next door.

Aqueous is a joint project between the City of Canada Bay and Sydney Water. To find out more, visit or
Find out more about Emma's work by visiting her website.

Riverside Cultural Scoping Study

The Riverside Cultural Scoping Study broadly identifies sites and stories associated with the southern foreshores of the Parramatta River, from Iron Cove to Homebush Bay that have social, cultural, economic and environmental heritage significance. Riverside redresses the gaps in the shoreline's history, recording its importance in Indigenous and new settler history as well as recognises sustainability themes relating to the many communities who live and engage with the river's edge.

This study resources Council and partners to:

  • Activate interest in the foreshores of Canada Bay.
  • Identify the attractors and types of place at a range of specified sites along the foreshore.
  • Enables users to culturally enrich and beautify our foreshores.
  • Provide a resource for ongoing project development that may be added to and built upon as additional sites become accessible and available for cultural development and public art.
  • Identify opportunities to create and integrate art and design into the prioritised sites.

In the study you can learn more about:

  • aboriginal heritage
  • colonial and industrial heritage
  • boundaries, journeys and connection
  • environment
  • place identity and community building in established and new areas.

Already there are a number of projects emerging as a result of the Riverside Study:

More information

To find out more information download below a copy of the Riverside Cultural Scoping Study or contact Council's Arts and Cultural Team on 9911 6555 or email

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The Serpent art project

The Serpent

The first Aboriginal sculptural artwork commissioned by the City of Canada Bay is currently in development. The brief was developed as part of the Reclamation project, part funded by a grant from Arts NSW.  

This artwork meets commitments in the Canada Bay Council Culture Plan, Public Art Strategy and the proposals in Riverside, Cultural Scoping Strategy for foreshore artworks and celebration of our Aboriginal heritage at significant sites.  

The artwork

This artwork has been developed by Jason Wing, an artist who strongly idetifies with his Aboriginal and Asian heritage. Jason grew up in Drummoyne and has a strong connection with the site and community.

The Serpent is an original design inspired by rainbow serpent imagery from Aboriginal history. In Aboriginal culture it is either the rainbow serpent or the eel that created the waterways, and water creates life. This work celebrates and acknowledges both.

In the words of the artist, the Serpent is based on a road sign ('winding road ahead'). Modern signage performs a similar function to traditional Aboriginal cave paintings and rock engravings. Signs, symbols and codes communicate social and historical messages, which inform our everyday lives. The ability to interpret these icons relies upon the sign maker to communicate their message in a succinct, universal and immediately recognisable manner. This communication device was used as the foundation for the design so that people of all cultures can instantly recognise and acknowledge that they stand on Aboriginal land. 

The site

The sculpture was selected for this site as before western colonisation, the area was an abundant food source for the Eora people. Today, there is limited visible evidence of the many shell middens found in the area, but we are aware of a number of significant sites around the Bay Run which suggest the Eora people had found an ideal food gathering site here. The location of the Sculpture has all the characteristics of a typical midden.    

The Observatory

The Observatory by Heidi Axelsen comprises of three pieces of art aimed at enabling visitors to experience the natural elements in a novel way. They are:

  • The Storm Glass Hut - This is a storm-glass barometer and weather vane to see the direction of the prevailing wind
  • The Sundial Wind Flute - This is a listening device to hear the sound of the wind and also the tell the time through the integrated sun dial
  • The Chaise Lounge Observatory - This provides a comfortable place to rest and observe the area, incorporating a small wind turbine to show the speed of the prevailing wind.

The artworks, located in a group of three, are a triptych, that relate to one another and create a destination. The works are inspired by the local history of Corry’s Pleasure Garden, 18th century scientific devices for measuring the weather and a Victorian aesthetic.

The location was selected as the site is exposed to the wind and provides a beautiful vantage point to experience the Parramatta River.

More information

Picnic and Play Art at Hoskins Reserve, Rhodes

The Vision

The vision was for games boards to be developed as part of table top artworks on three new picnic tables in Rhodes.  The art was to be innovative, vibrant, have integrity, and be of the highest quality. It was to connect with the local culturally diverse community, and create a meaningful sense of place.

This project aimed to achieve public art that resonates with local culture and encourages connection between play, sport, and the social lives of the residents surrounding the park.

Three artists were engaged through the curation of The Drawing Book Studios to create a piece of art for each of the picnic tables.

Mike Watt an Australian mural artist and illustrator:

My table design is based off the game Snakes and Ladders, I replaced the snakes and ladders with Blue Tongues and twigs to make it something more in line with the nature in Rhodes.

Bill Hope one of Australia's youngest professional illustrators:

When it came to working up this design for the Rhodes community I was keen to create something that was relevant to the site but also engaging on its own terms.

I've created a panorama of the local wildlife and habitat in the form of an"I Spy" pictures where users can try and spot all the lady beetles hiding in the picture.

Irene Feleo an illustrator and designer based in Sydney:

My picnic table design was created with the aim ti illustrate an artwork that functions as both a fun interactive and educational game as well as a lively and colourful piece of art for the community.

My maze design will be bright and geometric, with elements of Rhodes fauna and bird life scattered throughout so that children can spot and name these elements in their environment.

Each artist spent the day at Hoskins Reserve creating their individual artwork onto the three picnic tables and are now available to visit.

Hidden Gems

The Hidden Gems video series, produced by Media Farm, captures the essence of the City of Canada Bay. From suburb to suburb we visit the people and places that give the area its distinct character and charm.

Each video is an individual glimpse of interesting natural beauty and foreshores, restaurants, heritage, recreation and what it's like to be part of the local community. The videos give visitors and residents alike the opportunity to take a virtual tour of areas such as Cabarita, Concord, Abbotsford and more,  highlighting things that are not always well known but are accessible with ease.

View the Hidden Gems Videos.