Arts and 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
  • 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 Council's Development Contributions Plan. Documents are available to download below.

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Open public art commissions and current opportunities

Exhibit in The Digital Gallery, The Connection, Rhodes

We are accepting applications to showcase video, interactive, or other digital art in The Digital Gallery, located in the foyer of The Learning Space in Rhodes. Applications close on Monday, 31 October.

For more information, please read the Artist Brief.

All enquires to be directed to:

T: 9911 6296 (Monday to Tuesdays) 

North Strathfield Public Art

This is a great opportunity to add character to the North Strathfield Shopping Village through new artwork.

For more information please click here to read the artist brief.

EOI submission deadline: Sunday, 27 November 2022.

All enquiries should be directed to:

T: 9911 6524 (Monday to Wednesdays)

Love Springs Eternal – Valentine's Day Public Art Install

The City of Canada Bay is seeking to commission ephemeral installations for Valentine’s Day 2023. This is an opportunity to transform a common piece of built infrastructure into a vibrant and welcoming sight using colour, movement, fabrics, verse or similar.

For more information please click here to read the artist brief.

EOI submission deadline: Friday, 9 December 2022.

All enquiries should be directed to:

Stephanie Kelly
Manager Place Management

T: 9911 6521

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

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.  

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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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:

  • Reclamation – project aimed at developing public art installation at Cabarita Park. The Twilight Exhibition and Event will be held on Saturday, 27 October from 5–10p.
  • Development of a sculptural piece for the Bay Run, Drummoyne
  • Rhodes Art Plan – developing artwork and cultural activities for the Rhodes Peninsula
  • The Observatory – Reclamation sculpture
  • The Serpent – the Bay Run.

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

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.