Public art has the power to transform and enhance public spaces, bring communities together, and express local culture and identity. The city of Mornington is no exception, with a growing number of public art installations enriching the city’s streets, parks, and public spaces. In this article, we will explore the significance of public art in Mornington, its history, and its impact on the city’s inhabitants.

Mornington has a rich cultural history dating back to its indigenous inhabitants, the Boon Wurrung people. European settlement in the area began in the mid-19th century, and the city has since grown into a vibrant community with a population of over 23,000 people. Over the years, Mornington has embraced public art as a way to celebrate its history, culture, and community.

One of the most significant public art installations in Mornington is the 12-metre-high sculpture “Still Life with Stone and Car” by artist Deborah Halpern. The sculpture, located at the entrance of the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, was installed in 2018 and has quickly become an iconic landmark in the city. The sculpture features a human figure holding a stone and a car, symbolizing the interplay between nature and technology in modern society.

Another example of public art in Mornington is the “Sea Dragon” mosaic at the Civic Reserve. Created by local artist Sue Dorman, the mosaic depicts a mythical sea creature and was designed to reflect the marine life found in the waters around the city. The mosaic was installed in 2006 and has become a beloved fixture in the community.

The significance of public art in Mornington goes beyond its aesthetic value. Public art has the power to engage the community, promote social interaction, and create a sense of place and identity. Public art installations like “Still Life with Stone and Car” and the “Sea Dragon” mosaic serve as visual reminders of the city’s cultural history and identity. They also provide a platform for artists to express themselves and contribute to the cultural life of the community.

Public art can also have economic benefits for a city. Public art installations can attract visitors and tourists, generating revenue for local businesses and stimulating the local economy. For example, the installation of the “Still Life with Stone and Car” sculpture at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery has helped to increase visitor numbers to the gallery, providing a boost to the local economy.

In addition to its economic and cultural benefits, public art in Mornington has also been used as a tool for social change. In 2017, the “Rapid Response Team” project was launched by Mornington Peninsula Shire, aiming to use public art to raise awareness of social issues such as mental health, homelessness, and family violence. The project involved the installation of temporary public art installations throughout the city, highlighting the importance of social issues and encouraging community engagement and dialogue.

In conclusion, public art plays a vital role in the cultural, social, and economic life of the city of Mornington. From iconic sculptures like “Still Life with Stone and Car” to community-based projects like the “Rapid Response Team,” public art installations in Mornington serve as powerful symbols of the city’s identity, history, and values. By embracing public art, Mornington has created a vibrant and dynamic community that celebrates creativity, diversity, and community engagement.