Art & About Sydney is now in its 14th year, and is produced by City of Sydney Events.

2014

  • The theme for 2014 was ‘Endangered’. Whether it’s the sad, the silly, the harmful, the hilarious, the obvious or the obscure, artists involved in the 2014 program let us all immerse ourselves in what we are losing, and in doing so, bring hope to the endangered once more.
  • The festival was launched on September 19 with Friday Night Live – The Quarter Acre Block Party, a chilled night of songs, snags and shenanigans in homage to the disappearing great Aussie backyard. Hot Potato Band, The Morrisons and Bustamento provided the tunes, and Trolleys and Armchair Apocalypse provided the entertainment.
  • A nomadic art gallery set up camp in Hyde Park with Neon Nomads curated by Celina Stang and Luca Ionescu. With its earthy roots and futuristic vision, this installation of five digital tipis projects a collage of curated imagery and sound reflecting humanity, freedom and technology.
  • Us, by James Dive, The Glue Society was a temporary photo studio where you could be part of a group photograph with people you’ve never met before. Each participant was given their own signed and numbered copy to take home to remember this unique take on a day we all remember – school photo day.
  • Shaun Parker & Company returned in 2014 to deliver Trolleys, a  breath-taking, high-octane twenty-minute performance using the humble shopping trolley.
  • The Walking Neighbourhood, curated by Lenine Bourke and collaborators, allowed adults to take a tour devised and led by children, and rediscovered what it was like to wander the streets until dinner time.
  • Cie. Willi Dorner played with our perceptions of space by squeezing brightly clothed dancers into urban nooks and crannies with Bodies in Urban Spaces.
  • Eamon Donnelly used the banner gallery to display images of the iconic Australian milk bar, Armchair Apocalypse by Rock Surfers Theater Company brought three original theater productions to lounge rooms across the city, and graphic artist Numskull painted his largest wall artwork to date with Here, Now, which can be viewed from the corner of Pitt and Park streets.

2013

  •  The 2013 festival, which had the theme private lives… public places,  featured gigantic neon snails, an illuminated maze of mirrors and a playful tribute to the humble pedestrian icon.
  • Super group The Break, made up of members of Midnight Oil, Hunters and Collectors and US rockers The Violent Femmes performed at Friday Night Live.
  • Snailovation by the Cracking Art Group saw 24 gigantic neon snails make their way across some of Sydney’s most iconic public spaces – including Martin Place, Hyde Park and Customs House Square.
  • Hyde Park South became mesmerising maze of mirrors with FIELD, a stunning outdoor artwork created by New Zealand architects, Out Of The Dark and Fresh Concept.
  • Fresh from their sold-out European tour, Australian dance company Shaun Parker and Co. brought three inner-city playgrounds to life with SPILL, a series of interactive live performances for kids.
  • Sydneysiders were invited to step into another world with I Think I Can, an innovative interactive installation by Performance Space and the Australian Model Railway Association.

2012

  • Friday Night Live launched the festival with live performances from The Bamboo’s, Van She & Rufus
  • I Wish You Hadn’t Asked is a typical suburban home outside Hyde Park Barracks asked people to put on a raincoat and enter a house that continuously rained on the inside by Artist James Dive & The Glue Society
  • Emergence – some of Sydney’s oldest trees in Hyde Park came to life after dark illuminated by the giant ghostly faces by Craig Walsh in collaboration with the Australian Museum
  • Last Drinks by ESEM Projects recreated the famous Hotel Australia in Martin Place
  • The Great Crate, a giant green cube, made from thousands of tiny, edible plants emerged in Green Square by Plus1
  • A Moveable Feast, a feast of music, film and culinary delights during a one off closure of George Street

2011

  • Friday Night Live launched the festival.
  • The Banner Galley featured the replies of 100 people from across Australia to the question – what if?
  • Tsunami 1.26. a gigantic aerial net installation was installed above the intersection outside Town Hall.
  • For the 24th Kaldor Public Art Project, Michael Landy created Acts of Kindness for Sydney.
  • The Laneway Art program – seven projects presented by Australian artists and curators.
  • Happy Talk – a pavilion in Hyde Park was home to talks and workshops exploring the inventive and resourceful ways Pacific Island communities approach design.
  • For the first time Art & About held Little Sydney Lives, a photographic exhibition and competition for kids aged 3 – 11 years.

2010

  • 100 portraits of Sydneysiders were on display for The Banner Gallery.
  • A 12-metre high Penny Farthing known as The Bike Bike was created by Alasdair Nicol in Martin Place.
  • Eight of the City’s public art statues were re-imagined by established and emerging artists.
  • ArtPark, a weekend of art in Hyde Park, included film screenings, video art, a pop up palette gallery.

2009

  • The launch in Hyde Park attended by over 3000 people opened with an Aboriginal Smoking Ceremony.
  • The Banner Gallery featured the work of NSW Indigenous artists.
  • The laneway program explored themes of collaboration, sustainability and the changing nature of public space.
  • The Village Art Project was held in Kings Cross, a guerrilla knitting installation involving weekly knit-in workshops.
  • The Live Green House was installed in Taylor Square, with sustainable living workshops, demonstrations and talks.
  • The final Danks Street Festival was produced by City of Sydney.

2008

  • Art & About launched in Taylor Square with a focus on highlighting the cultural history of this precinct.
  • Love TV, a live, unpredictable, funny TV studio was installed in Taylor Square.
  • Oxford Street’s rock n roll scene in the 60s, 70s and 80s was retold through the Rock N Roll Walk of Fame.
  • The laneway program featured Adam Norton’s Tank Project, Firstdraft’s Downtown, Gaffa Gallery’s One More Go One More Go, Reef Knot’s The Sky is Falling and Albion Place by Peleton.
  • Erskineville residents make clay horses as part of Annie Kennedy’s The Stables, Art & About.

2007

  • A launch party in Customs House Square marked the opening of Sydney Child’s Eye 2030, featuring children’s paintings of their city of the future, projected onto AMP and Customs House.
  • The Banner Gallery included works from Louise Hearman, David Griggs, Paddy Bedford and Del Kathryn Barton.
  • The first laneway project (Live Lanes) was produced with a bar and music venue in Bulletin Place, a new outdoor gallery wall in Albion Place and an installation in Temperance Lane.

2006

  • Public launch in Customs House Square with the unveiling of The Face of Sydney, a year-long project that created digitally layered composite images from portraits of local residents projected onto the AMP Building.
  • Customs House Square featured installations by Jasper Knight, Adam Constenoble, Louisa Dawson, Amber Rowe and Mays Lane, and was curated by James Gulliver Hancock.
  • Martin Sharp’s Thousand Dollar Bill & Yayoi Kusama’s Stars Infinity featured alongside Robert Macpherson’s Australia in an Open Gallery.
  • Large-scale photographs of local residents featured on billboard-sized banners along Glebe Point Road in Facing Glebe.

2005

  • More than 3000 people painted thongs as part of Thonglines, an enormous installation at Customs House Square.
  • The inaugural Danks Street Festival celebrated a new Sydney hub of art, design and food.
  • Abandoned cars became art in Sydney Square.

2004

  • Singing For That Country, featured plenty of bright paint, shoes, polka dots and soundscapes. The multimedia work from Aku Kadogo and Tree Guyton appeared in Sydney Park, Redfern and Waterloo.
  • Lindy Lee’s banner of her 14-year-old mother featured in Open Gallery, and was later installed in Beijing.
  • Redfern Banner Art Project, created by an art therapy collective run by the Aboriginal Medical Service, was exhibited outside the Redfern Neighbourhood Centre at Lawson Square.
  • Houses of the Future, six cutting edge homes built from steel, timber, clay, concrete, cardboard and glass were exhibited at Sydney Opera House forecourt.

2003

  • US artist Kurt Perschke brought his RedBall Project to Sydney, a giant mobile red ball that appeared in different locations throughout the city centre.
  • Work from David Griggs, Brook Andrew, Guan Wei, Mikala Dwyer, Noel McKenna & Robyn Stacey featured on city street banners in Open Gallery.
  • Art in the Park, a day of talks and workshops featuring Art & About artists.
  • RE_SQUARED, a structural installation and live audiovisual performance by Cicada was held in Australia Square.

2002

  • The first Sydney Life Exhibition, then called Sydney Looking Forward, showed us our city in large-scale photographs hung in Hyde Park.
  • The inaugural Open Gallery, now called The Banner Gallery, featured 20 works from emerging artists.
  • The Ranamok Art Glass Prize was our first associated event, a partnership that has continued over our 10-year history.
  • Sculpture in the City transformed Martin Place with works from emerging and established artists.