Make your mark in Adelaide with a new $240,000 public art commission

Expressions of Interest are now invited for this significant opportunity to install an iconic artwork in the heart of the city.
Make your mark in Adelaide with a new $240,000 public art commission

Artist's impression on the interior of the redeveloped station; image supplied.

A significant opportunity is now open for an artist seeking to make a real and long-lasting contribution to the cultural life of Adelaide, by creating a large-scale work to be installed in the heart of the city.

Renewal SA, on behalf of the Urban Renewal Authority, is looking for an artist to create a ceiling-based artwork in a dramatic new arcade being built in the Adelaide Riverbank precinct. This exciting opportunity comes as part of the $900+ million Festival Plaza redevelopment, currently underway in the city.


Expressions of interest are now being sought from artists with the expertise to develop a major integrated artwork for this prominent location. 

The Adelaide Festival Plaza Redevelopment will feature a new square as well as a northern promenade and the Art Space Plaza. This will complement the significant upgrade of the adjacent Adelaide Festival Centre. The announcement is more good news for the arts in Adelaide, coming just a week after the Federal Government announced it would deliver $129 million for a series of projects designed to boost the city’s cultural economy as part of the Adelaide City Deal.


Launching the new art commission, the Honourable Stephan Knoll MP, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure, and Local Government, described it as a significant opportunity to contribute to the reinvigoration of the Festival Plaza, Adelaide Railway Station and the broader Adelaide Riverbank precinct.

‘There has been an enormous level of investment in the Adelaide Riverbank which is home to some of Adelaide’s most significant cultural, tourism, sporting and public facilities and institutions.

Festival Plaza will be a world-class destination, right in the centre of Adelaide Riverbank and has attracted nearly a billion dollars of public and private investment,’ he said.

The Festival Plaza redevelopment encompasses five separate but highly integrated development projects, including the refurbishment of the Adelaide Festival Centre; the expansion of SkyCity Casino including a new six-star hotel; the construction by Walker Corporation of a new office, retail, and carpark development; and the establishment of a new and exciting public square featuring event spaces, water features, landscaping, and public art.

Elder Park overview; image supplied

The SkyCity Casino will extend its footprint to the north, creating a new pedestrian walkway underneath that will connect the Adelaide Railway Station, Adelaide Festival Centre, and Festival Plaza with the development of a striking new entrance to the Adelaide Railway Station.

The new station entry will be located at the cultural crossroads of the Adelaide Riverbank, where the promenade linking the Adelaide Festival Centre to the Adelaide Convention Centre will meet the main pedestrian link between the city centre and Adelaide Oval. For many visitors, this space will truly be the gateway to the Adelaide Riverbank.

It has been designed with a dramatic ‘rocky escarpment’ façade treatment and will become a significant local landmark. The interior is conceived as an organic vaulted arcade, reminiscent of the neoclassical interior of the original Adelaide Railway Station.

The width of the station entrance will be approximately 13 metres, matching the width of the Railway Station concourse and wide enough to accommodate the vast numbers of people passing through the space to attend major events within the Adelaide Riverbank.

The arcade will feature a series of intersecting vaults arching down to the ground and will be encircled by retail and specialty tenancies for visitors to pause, relax, and enjoy the space. It will have a dramatic vaulted ceiling that will vary in height from 4 to 6 metres. It has been architecturally designed to incorporate the major new site-specific landmark artwork occupying approximately 175 square metres (25m by 7m).


Placing artworks in the public realm is embedded into the ethos of Renewal SA. ‘Public art plays an integral role in transforming spaces into places which draw people in and create an attraction for visitors and a means of engagement and interaction with a space,’ said Mark Devine, Acting Chief Executive of Renewal SA.

Artists with demonstrated public art experience are now invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for this significant installation. The EOI is available for download through the SA Tenders & Contracts website. The EOI closes on 16 April 2019.

The selected artwork should be designed specifically for the location in a way that will captivate the senses of the audiences, enliven the space, and deliver a transitional experience for the people walking beneath. Artists are encouraged to consider and respond creatively to the site’s history, geography, geology, cultures, and stories. They should also consider a multi-faceted audience when developing their concept designs.

The artwork should reward first time visitors through revealing the sense of grandeur but also offer opportunities for a deeper and more complex engagement for the repeat audience with an aesthetically sophisticated design.

The state government has allocated a budget in the order of $240,000 (excluding GST) for the artwork. This includes concept fees, design development, fabrication, and installation.

Public artworks offer artists an important avenue to reflect on contemporary life. They can be challenging and innovative; they can amaze and delight both locals and visitors. The most memorable public artworks are unique to their place and time and create unexpected opportunities for a meaningful engagement with art.


When complete, the Festival Plaza will be a unique world-class hub and the centrepiece of a revitalised centre for the arts, culture, tourism and entertainment. It will be the place to meet, relax, and enjoy with 16,500 square metres of public space and forming an oasis between so many significant buildings and institutions.

‘This is an opportunity to add to the rich cultural texture of Adelaide with an iconic large scale ceiling-based artwork, in one of the busiest thoroughfares in the heart of Adelaide Riverbank,’ said Devine. 

The EOI says the new artwork will add another experiential layer to the striking entry statement of the development while complementing the architectural language through its materials or application. It should aim to be textural and incorporate lighting features or reflective materials to explore the play of light and reflection to further generate visual intrigue.

The EOI asks for an initial response to the criteria and examples of three previous artworks. Artists submitting an EOI should have demonstrated public art experience. The EOI submissions will be reviewed by an appointed Public Art Reference Group. Three artists will be selected to develop and present their concept proposals in a competitive commission model before the final artwork is chosen. The reference group has membership from the Renewal SA, ARM Architecture, Art Gallery of South Australia, Office for Design and Architecture SA, and Arts SA.

The three selected artists will be engaged for a fee to develop concept designs within a six-week design phase. The chosen artwork will be due for completion in December 2019.

Artists interested in this significant new opportunity are invited to download the tender documentation from SA Tenders and Contracts:

More information on this exciting opportunity is available from Adey Brecknock, Manager, City Projects. Interested parties should email


Dr Diana Carroll

Thursday 28 March, 2019

About the author

Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Adelaide. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the SMH, the Oz, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.