FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Does Rocky need its own version of the 'Fearless Girl' statue? This replica is seen at Melbourne's Federation Square.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Does Rocky need its own version of the 'Fearless Girl' statue? This replica is seen at Melbourne's Federation Square. JAMES ROSS

ASPIRE CQ: Should we ditch beef slogan?

DOES the promise of $10m for the construction of a new art gallery mean Rockhampton is one step closer to becoming the Cultural Capital of the North and ditching the Beef Capital of Australia title?

After all, can one, in this era of goldfish attention spans, successfully wear (market) two seemingly very different hats?

The new, bigger, art gallery you may recall is the centrepiece of the upper bank riverside development that will shortly see the wrecking ball through two East St shops, providing easy access to Quay St.

The Bonds Store behind Customs House will be converted into a digital and creative innovation space, as well as gutting the former Enterprise Centre to accommodate an undercover markets area.

Should be very impressive when complete, providing more worthy credentials for claiming the Cultural Capital of the North title. How does this dovetail with the already held Beef Capital of Australia title?

Does one title have to be forfeited to claim the other?

I don't believe so, and suggest that what this clash of perceptions offers is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen the hold on one title as ground is made in gaining the other.

If a competition was held offering a substantial prize for the best idea on how Rockhampton can meld its Beef Capital status with an image also befitting the Cultural Capital of the North, what could come from it?

Perhaps rip off New York's famous Charging Bull statue on the corner of Quay and Denham St, in Rockhampton's case, to represent optimism in beef and the arts.

Maybe with our own "Fearless Girl” statue too, but where to put her?

Hopefully though the competition would generate original creativity, what a Cultural Capital should encourage.

That we are confronted with images that challenge our ideas of what is art and just plain ugly. Our own Federation Square debate.

Something that not only gets locals talking, but nationally and even internationally via social media. Talk that has Rockhampton and culture building in the same sentence.

Other than a handful of bull statues and a saleyard on the city outskirts, artists basically have a clean canvas to generate ideas to revitalise Rockhampton as the modern Beef Capital of Australia.

What has been built and is proposed provides great bones for the Cultural Capital of the North title. Let's see what creative minds can flesh out to have people believe we deservedly own both titles. A "new” Rockhampton to present to the world.



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