24 July, 2020

Light art brings artistic vibes to city laneway

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Light boxes and projections featuring art by local artists are bringing artistic vibes to Produce Lane in the heart of city’s entertainment strip, just off Hindley Street, to transform the laneway into a more welcoming and safer place.

This initiative is being delivered in partnership with TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts (AC Arts). It builds a unique identity for one of the lesser-known laneways in the City of Adelaide.

The first artist to present their work in Produce Lane is emerging artist, Lee Walter. Lee’s artworks are displayed in a series of light boxes and projections on to the pavement which are lit up every night between 6pm and 4am. The lightboxes can be viewed 24 hours a day.

Lord Mayor of Adelaide Sandy Verschoor said that art could help make public areas, especially those areas off the main streets, feel safer.

“The art will help make Produce Lane a place worth visiting rather than simply being used as a thoroughfare and late-night congregation point by creating a more attractive and welcoming day, twilight and night experience for all users,” the Lord Mayor said.

“So when you’re next in Hindley Street, take a wander down Produce Lane and have a look at these colourful light boxes brightening the street.”

In 2009, Council installed a light box gallery along Blyth Street after our safety audit showed that people felt quite unsafe in the street. Reports looking at the effects of the installation have shown that these lightboxes have led to a significant increase in perceptions and feelings of safety.

Building on our learnings from the Blyth Street project, the installation of artwork in Produce Lane will improve safety by attracting more people and encouraging pedestrians to slow down and look at the works.

The study on the effects of the light boxes in Blyth Street showed that they increased a sense of ownership of the lane and made the area feel safer through deterring anti-social behaviour and improving amenity.

This area ­­– an important access point for public toilets and the Light Square UPark ­– is now less likely to be a target of crime and anti-social behaviours as a result of the activation.

“The underlying meaning tied to each of the works selected for the Produce Lane initiative is fundamentally about connection - our connection to each other as well as the connection we have to the environment,” Lee said.

“I have constructed mini temporal ecosystems, exploring subjects from love and grief to trying to capture the sublime in today’s contemporary climate.

“This opportunity awarded to me by the City of Adelaide with thanks to Adelaide College of the Arts has allowed me to diversify my practice by enabling me to explore the use of alternative mediums to showcase my work on a larger public platform.”

Sean Parsonage, TAFE SA’s Educational Manager – Arts, said AC Arts was pleased to be involved with the project.

“The light gallery project has provided a great experience for our students and made a positive impact on the local community. We’re immensely proud of Lee as an AC Arts graduate and emerging artist.”

Also contributing to safety in the Hindley Street precinct, Encounter Youth and the After-Midnight Buses are now operational again on Saturday nights. These services paused during COVID-19 while licensed premises were closed.

The Encounter Youth Green Team has patrolled the Hindley Street entertainment precinct every Saturday night between 11:30pm and 5:00am since 2011. This committed volunteer team respond to incidents, offer referrals to relevant services, provide a safe presence, give out free bottled water and make themselves available to Hindley Street patrons. They provide support to those in distress as well as hang out with those who just want to chat.

For more information about the After Midnight services visit Adelaide Metro.

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Ashleigh Pisani