THEY say that beauty is often "in the eye of the beer-holder" and it seems the same can sometimes be said for public artwork projects.
Heads are being scratched across the region over a concept design chosen by the Southern Downs Regional Council for a "climatic art piece" for Stanthorpe, for which council is applying for State Government funding which could run as high as $2 million.
The proposal by art house KUUKI for a quirky cluster of LED-embedded "light poles" which change colour depending on the season and temperature, has prompted some cynics to remark that it bears more than a passing resemblance to, er, sperm.
In this, it might have something in common with a couple of other well-known "art pieces" around the traps, but others have been less biological in their comments, saying it looks like baby mushrooms or "something dripping".
For the record, the poles are intended to symbolise stamens from the rare Granite Belt wildflower Grevillea scortechinii, but we'll let you be the judge.
Council voted to adopt the design last week, choosing from three options which were also the subject of an online council community vote.
The "stamen" proposal scored nearly 80% support from the 219 people who voted, with just 4% saying they didn't like any of the designs.
Council will now apply for funding from State Government agency Arts Queensland, with a council spokeswoman yesterday saying a previously reported cost of $1.5 million was "incorrect" and that no final amount had been finalised.
This is despite economic development officer Sarah Reeves being quoted in the Stanthorpe Border Post in July as saying council would apply for between $400,000 and $2 million.
Whatever it costs - if funding is approved - the chosen concept is a long way from an original idea for a "Big Thermometer" for the coldest town in the Sunny State, with proponent Cr Vic Pennisi saying the call went back 13 years.
He may have voted in favour of the stamens, but Cr Pennisi yesterday conceded the wriggly resemblance could be on the money and hinted the final design might well be modified.
"I guess it could look like different things to different people, but you have to remember it's a concept and there is room to modify the design," he said.
"One option could be changing the tops (of the poles) to look like Chinese lanterns, with the Chinese having been instrumental in Stanthorpe's tin mining industry.
"But as a concept I support it, it's interactive and it will represent season and temperature."
Cr Denise Ingram, who voted against the design, said it had "moved a long way from the original idea" of a thermometer, but did not express a view on what the art piece resembled.
Other local wags have nicknamed the artwork "Sperm Bank", as it would be erected on the banks of Stanthorpe's pretty Quart Pot Creek.
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