15 Second Place

Public Art Spaces

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An image of a public art piece featuring red spikes pointing towards a blue skye

"Red spikes" by Flickr user Rob Deutscher used under Creative Commons attribution 2.0 license

“The public needs art - and it is the responsibility of a 'self-proclaimed artist' to realise that the public needs art, and not to make bourgeois art for a few and ignore the masses.”

Keith Haring

Public art turns up in our world to claim part of the streets.

Beautifying or challenging our ideas, art is always controversial.

Watch the videos and answer the questions to find out more about public art and sculpture in Melbourne.


Vault by Ron Robertson-Swann is a public sculpture in Melbourne. It was commissioned by the Melbourne City Council in 1978, but it received some criticism from the public. Find out more by watching the video below.

ACCA curator Juliana Engberg talks about Ron Robertson-Swann's sculpture Vault.


What are some of the reasons that art might be moved or removed?

Why do you think there can be controversy and anger with public art?

Larry La Trobe

Poor little Larry La Trobe! The whereabouts of this popular Melbourne sculpture of a dog is still unknown. Listen to the artist's story below.

Artist Pamela Irving discusses her sculpture Larry La Trobe


In what ways can people interact with public artworks emotionally, physically or mentally?

Think of examples of public art that people can interact with, such as the Federation Bells at Birrarung Marr in Melbourne?

Go deeper


What are some of the issues that an artist might experience when their piece of public artwork is moved? Read about Anna Minardo’s experience and discuss the famous controversy surrounding Ron Robertson-Swann’s Vault (also known as the Yellow Peril) in the 1980s.


Create a short film that demonstrates the relationship or connection between public art, its environment and the community. Use a range of interesting shots, angles or even time lapse techniques to show people engaging with the art work over the course of a day.

“Public money should be spent on art but through individuals not committees.”

Antony Gormley