The transformative power of art

10 May 2024

Stockland Town Centres have always been community hubs, but customers today are increasingly seeking a more engaging, intimate experience. We know the design of a shopping environment attracts more visitors, increases length of stay, and builds more meaningful customer connections. With these insights in mind, we expanded our Public Art Strategy across more centre’s this year.  

A local lens 

Our Public Art Strategy currently covers over 6,000 square metres across our portfolio, breathing new life into public spaces. Our art not only provides an engaging, localised backdrop that makes our customers feel right at home, it also offers an ideal stage for hosting workshops and community initiatives. They are not just a canvas for the artist, but rather a canvas for the creative spirit of the community itself to thrive and develop, driving foot traffic and activity to our centres and increasing the time people spend in key locations.  

The Public Art Strategy also serves as a natural extension of our dedication to the goals outlined in our First Nations Strategy and Reconciliation Action Plan at a hyper local level, providing resources, support, and mentoring to help emerging Indigenous artists find a platform for reaching a broader audience. 

We have been privileged to display the work of many fine Indigenous artists, each generous in sharing a tradition of deep storytelling through art and connecting us to Country.  

When we started our Public Art Strategy, it was firm in connecting people. Stockland Executive General Manager – Town Centres, Michelle Abbey, said that the art program has had a tremendous power to include everyone. 

“Stockland’s Public Art Strategy celebrates diverse cultures, fosters inclusivity, and holds up a mirror to our customers, so they recognise themselves within the communities we operate in, all of which contributes to community wellbeing and resilience. They are our way of illuminating public space with heritage and future aspiration”. 

From left to right, top to bottom: Stockland Merrylands NSW, Stockland Rockhampton Qld, Stockland Shellharbour NSW.

Driving differentiation through art  

People can choose from an enormous array of online and offline shopping options, so it is important to create a unique cultural identity for our centres that makes them both welcoming and memorable. Art continues to play an important role in connecting each location with the local community.  Our talented chosen artists have each shown an ability to touch the lives of visitors.  

The customer experience is made all the more enjoyable when surrounded by the beauty dreamed up by some of Australia’s most talented creators and local artists sharing their talent with their community. It lifts our centres, elevating them into thriving hubs of creativity, diversity, and customer engagement, in turn raising customer satisfaction scores and making our Town Centres the destinations of choice for more visitors.   

Diversity, inclusivity, and opportunity are three of the key pillars we assess when selecting an artist. For the artists, too, there is something special about creating a work at the centre of their communities. For Stephanie Cartledge and Justine McAllister, who's striking “Bush Blooms” mural catches the attention of visitors to Stockland Wendouree, it was an unforgettable experience. 

“Leaving our mark on the city where we were born and raised has been an unforgettable experience. Mural art should resonate with its surroundings and be site-specific, so by understanding the unique character of the area, we created a piece that not only enhances the physical space, but also fosters a sense of connection and belonging for visitors to the centre,” Ms Cartledge and Ms McAllister said. 

Who wouldn’t want to linger longer when exposed to the captivating collaboration of Shannon Crees, Donna Rankin, Lara Went, and Nicole Bramble at Forster? Their "Women who weave colour" artwork forms a textured tapestry of Forster's community narrative. Dynamic, abstract, and harmoniously blending with the environment, it's a true eye-catcher.  

From left to right, top to bottom: Stockland Wetherill Park NSW, Stockland Point Cook Vic, Stockland Burleigh Heads Qld, Stockland Forster NSW.

Connecting people and places 

Public art is all about human connections. It tells our shared story, provokes thought and discussion, and helps us to better understand diverse viewpoints.  

We are proud to support the very-human-tradition of sharing a vision of the world through art, and every Stockland artist has delivered on that in vivid, spectacular colour and form. The pieces are as varied and diverse as the communities we serve, from the beach vibe of the spectacular ‘The Brightsiders’ turtle mural at Burleigh Heads, to the massive wildlife pieces by renowned local artist Caitlin Broderick that bring alive Stockland Rockhampton. Each reflects something of the local area.  

The artworks also make a direct connection with our retailers. Who could look at the vivid freshness of Stockland Merrylands’ food-inspired murals without feeling inspired to visit our food retailers before heading to the kitchen to create a delicious spread? When our retailers inhabit these imaginative worlds with their customers, it is possible to engage with them in a way that is beyond words, positioning the centre as a preferred community destination on a deeper emotional level.  

We encourage our retailers to weave art through their own spaces, during the fit-out process and beyond, to further connect with their customers and deepen their brand engagement through authentic storytelling.

Contact your Leasing and Tenancy Design Manager to discuss opportunities to bring art to life in your retail spaces.