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Value of public art

Public art provides a means of celebrating a region’s unique culture, diverse communities, and rich history. It offers shared symbols which contribute to civic pride and help forge a positive identity for the area.


Through art, the region can project its collective identity and vision, while individuals and community groups are also empowered to express their unique identities.


Public art supports the creative industries, creating opportunities for artists and designers. Further, public art acts as a catalyst for development and economic growth through innovation, attracting visitors and stimulating investment.

“A vibrant arts community not only keeps residents and their discretionary spending close to home, but it also attracts visitors who spend money and help local businesses thrive.”

Source: Creative New Zealand. The Value of Arts: Arts Wellington Economic Impact Survey 2010.


Large-scale public art examples and their significant economic benefits

The spectacular ‘Kelpies’ sculpture in Northern Scotland, at 30 metres high and at a cost of seven million pounds, receives around 5 million visitors per year.


The ‘Angel of the North’ in the north of England is believed to be the largest sculpture of an angel in the world. It is viewed by an estimated 90 thousand people per day, 33 million people every year.


In terms of economic impact to the economy, in 2018 the Angel of the North generated more than £110 million of economic growth and employs nearly 2000 workers across the region.


Whale Song, as a significant national attraction and drawcard, estimated to attract 500,000 visitors per year, will be free to visit and experience. This will leave visitors’ funds to be spent elsewhere in the district and region, adding to the widespread benefits Whale Song will bring to Wellington and New Zealand.


It will be seen from both directions on the Kāpiti Expressway and will be only an hour from Wellington International Airport. With 27,000 vehicle movements a day on the expressway, 9.5m vehicles will pass Whale Song each year. In addition, over 5 million foot traffic counts per year through Coastlands in 2022, should indicate that Whale Song’s tourism projection numbers are sound.

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