Here are the nominees for the Best Public Art category for the 2nd Annual Wellingtonista Awards (2AWA).

What is that?:

Art is what separates Man from Beast (apart from those monkeys with typewriters who came up with the screenplay for Melody Rules, of course). Therefore it’s only fitting that we recognise the public art around the city that makes Wellington the colourful, vibrant place that it is. Of course, it’s a subjective area, but these are the pieces that really make us do double-takes as we move around.

(nominees after the jump)

A. Sky Blues [in Post Office Square]

Post Office Square, WellingtonDuring the day it might resemble “pubic hair on chopsticks” but at night when then neon tubing lights up and reflects off nearby buildings the effect can be stunning. Part of the many items that are meant to lead folks away from Lambton Quay and to the waterfront, Sky Blues has been a welcome addition to what was previously a large flat traffic island.

B. Graffiti in the alley off Left Bank

left bank beefeaterThis little alley-way has become known as the Left Bank Gallery, running as it does between Ghuznee Street opposite Glover Park through to Cuba Street’s alternative shopping mecca, the Left Bank. Its walls host a multitude of graffiti of varying levels of quality, from the most banal sprayed and marker’d tags through to whimsical and beautiful paintings of great style and technique; as well as a nice sampler of local stencil-art. Its ever-changing walls reward repeat visits, and it is a useful primer on the artists that seek to change the face of our city armed only with stealth and a set of paints.

C. The installations along the way to the Airport

There’s a great big orange pointy thing which is actually a zephyrometer! There’s coloured cubes stacked on each other that twirl in the wind! There’s a roundabout full of fake reeds! While some of the Wellingtonistas aren’t so fond of the Tower of Light (and judging by the smashing vandalism it attracts, neither are Cobham Drive’s boy racers), the sculptures as a whole make an otherwise ugly stretch of road sexy, and are a great introduction for visitors to the vibrancy of our beloved city.

D. Invisible City [The braille sculpture on Lambton Quay]

This sculpture, Invisible City, invites touch. There is meaning here, but it is hidden to mundane people. Which is kind of ironic, because only those to whom most of the rest of the world is in shadow can actually read it. (On the other hand, we have heard that it doesn’t mean mean anything in Braille either.) And so it introduces a little bit of mystery into the suity humdrum of Lambton Quay. Which is always a good thing.

E. Protoplasm (The “Pebbles” Wind Sculpture outside the Old Bank)

SmartiesIt may be called Protoplasm if you read the plaque, but “Pebbles” is more recognisable if you are looking to meet someone in town nearby it. This is another sculpture that only lives when Wellington is windy: its stacked discs twist and gyrate like some manic geek at the school disco. Proof once again that the wind, one of Wellington’s most polarising features, can be midwife to beauty as easily as ruin your umbrella.

For a handy map of where to find these pieces, use the “bestpublicart” tag on Zoomin. Viddy them before voting opens on November 19.