The Stobie Pole Project 2024 marks the seventh major public art venture commissioned by SA Power Networks through the Helpmann Academy. 2024 is also the 100-year anniversary of the iconic Stobie pole and the Helpmann Academy’s 30-year anniversary.

Established in 2016, the Helpmann public art program is the first of its kind in South Australia. Its aim is to assist emerging practitioners to gain valuable experience and skills to negotiate the public art domain from concept to completion. A significant component of the program is the invaluable mentoring from established artists that the emerging artists receive, helping to builds skills, confidence, and connections with a wide range of practitioners and industry contacts.

Emerging creatives Chloe Noble, Danny Jarratt, Miriam Sims and Neville Cichon gave a collection of Stobie poles around the Parks Library in Angle Park a facelift in 2022. The project paired the four creatives with multi-disciplinary artist Dave Court, whose current work includes large-scale public artwork and the creation of immersive events and installations, all with a focus on collaborative and experimental processes. Court mentored the group for six months as they created a series of eye-catching and reflective designs.

A walking tour of the works around the Parks Library. Photo: Jack Fenby

Last year, Alice Hu, Ellis Moseley, Abby Pumpa and Anna Révész were mentored by Seb Humphreys, an artist known for his large-scale mural work and sculptures that explore the intersection of nature and the modern urbanised world. This was an incredible resource for the emerging artists, as they transformed a collection of Stobie poles around Beefacres Reserve in Windsor Gardens.

The Stobie Pole Project is an introduction to the world of public art and a great fit for local, emerging artists looking to make their mark.

Artists who have previously participated in the project say that being mentored by established artists gave them invaluable experience and advice, and new understandings around collaboration. They also relished the opportunity to take inspiration from the outside world, be a physical part of the community, and have their art accessed by diverse audiences.

A Chloe Noble and Danny Jarratt collaborative work. Photo: Jack Fenby

The experience had a positive impact of Ellis Moseley, who was sensitive to the community where his works were installed but excited for the opportunity to move outside the gallery setting.

“To have my work be part of the everyday life of residents and park users is an honour,” Moseley says. “Few of my previous works are accessible to the public after they are complete. I hope these works give an enduring pleasure to the Windsor Gardens community.

“I wanted to be sensitive to the residents whose homes are nearest the works. The pole at the bus stop aims to bring morning joy to commuters by using gentle but joyous yellow and orange.

“The feathered work in the park intends to capture the attention of those who move along the walking path, particularly young children. I want to provide a jumping point for their vivid imaginations. Is it a strange bird? Or is it a monster?”

For Abby Pumpa, it was a chance to work in her local community and embrace an opportunity fresh out of university.

“The Stobie Pole Project introduced me to the process of creating public art, which was something that felt so daunting to approach before,” Pumpa says. “But because of this opportunity, I hope to do more, maybe even bigger, projects in the future.”

For emerging artist Chloe Noble, who took part in 2022, it was a chance to diversify and build their skills while being mentored by Dave Court.

“Dave has been able to give me invaluable experience and advice that would have been difficult for me to gain elsewhere,” Noble explains.

“Dave has an endless wealth of knowledge when it comes to mural painting and public art that he is always willing to share with us. He is a pleasure to work with and very accommodating to our skillsets and knowledge.”

For emerging artists looking for a chance to immerse themselves in a public art program, the Stobie Pole Project provides a platform to develop technical skills and a community-minded approach to their practice.

Alice Hu talks about her process. Photo: Naomi Jellicoe

In this milestone year for both organisations, local artist Christine Cholewa has been selected as the mentor for the next cohort of artists.

Cholewa enjoys collaboration and working on public art. She does not use one material or one set approach when working on her art; rather, she works with her aesthetic, skills, and material knowledge to approach each art opportunity individually. For more than a decade, Cholewa was the co-director of CHEBart, working within the public art sector in South Australia, and she has significant experience working collaboratively and as part of a team with other professionals on large projects.

Artists who are selected for the program this year will have two locations to showcase their burgeoning public art practice. The emerging artists will install their works on Stobie poles in the City of West Torrens – around SA Power Networks’ head office in Keswick – and expand the collection around Beefacres Reserve in the City of Port Adelaide Enfield.

The SA Power Networks Stobie Pole Project is a partnership between the Helpmann Academy and SA Power Networks, and is supported by City of West Torrens and City of Port Adelaide Enfield.

Applications are now open for the Stobie Pole Project and close at 11.59pm on Monday, March 11, 2024. Learn more at the Helpmann Academy website.

Support local arts journalism

Your support will help us continue the important work of InReview in publishing free professional journalism that celebrates, interrogates and amplifies arts and culture in South Australia.

Donate Here

. You are free to republish the text and graphics contained in this article online and in print, on the condition that you follow our republishing guidelines.

You must attribute the author and note prominently that the article was originally published by InReview.  You must also inlude a link to InReview. Please note that images are not generally included in this creative commons licence as in most cases we are not the copyright owner. However, if the image has an InReview photographer credit or is marked as “supplied”, you are free to republish it with the appropriate credits.

We recommend you set the canonical link of this content to to insure that your SEO is not penalised.

Copied to Clipboard