EXPENSIVE ART: Lismore City Council’s budget for this sculpture of a boat in Lismore CBD blew out by almost $200,000.
EXPENSIVE ART: Lismore City Council’s budget for this sculpture of a boat in Lismore CBD blew out by almost $200,000. The Northern Star

'It's ugly': Lismore's controversial public art record

"IT is ugly. It takes up to much room... even if we get a flood we can't sail away in it.... I think that thing is an eyesore and a waste of money, it's embarrassing."

These are just some of the comments from a change.org petition to remove Lismore "arty ark" in Woodlark St, a monument that seems to have failed to endear itself to the public at large.

In fact most of Lismore's many attempts at iconic public art seem to have been either disliked or forgotten.

It's a sad world away from Ballina's beloved Big Prawn, which as a privately-owned landmark has never cost Ballina a cent.

Lismore has been at times unlucky - a $60,000 heritage art project for which a striking 300kg, five-metre goanna was constructed by Tabulam artist Keith Cameron hasn't yet seen the light of day because of a disagreement with local Aboriginal elders.

The ark might also not look as bad if it had a more suitable support structure - those bulky concrete legs don't really do the more delicate "boat skeleton" justice.

But the original plan to have the boat atop a more suitable electricity substation was scuttled by Essential Energy when they took over from Country Energy in 2012.

Having already blown out from its original $100,000 budget to almost $300,000, the council had to finish the project.

Now Lismore can call itself home to a public art work so disliked that even elected councillors shy away from commenting on it.


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