Empty spaces in two Surry Hills pubs will be transformed into locations for temporary art installations by leading Sydney artists as a result of an innovative public art project.

The Dove & Olive and Shakespeare Hotels, both on Devonshire Street, will provide the venues for work by photographer Angela Robertson-Buchanan and Jeff McCann after the artists were selected by a judging panel following an artists’ call out.


Margot Natoli, the producer of the Surry Hills Creative Art Project, said the project was designed both to support local artists and also to bring patrons into the pubs through creating exciting and colourful new spaces.

“As restrictions are lifting we wanted to celebrate our suburb’s recovery and brighten up our community spaces with unique local art,” said Natoli.

“We were looking for expressions of interest to create temporary artworks in a courtyard space, a disused wall, in a windowsill, a closed shop front window or other possible spaces.”

A total of 27 artists expressed interest in the project, which is a collaboration between Margot Natoli, the Surry Hills Creative Precinct and the City of Sydney through the Creative Fellowships Fund.

Angela-Roberson Buchanan, whose work will activate the Dove & Olive Hotel, is an award winning freelance nature photographer, published author, teacher and exhibition curator.

She specialises in photographing the natural world, and has been recognised for her macrophotography of birds.

Local contemporary artist Jeff McCann will activate the closed shop front at the Shakespeare Hotel. He has a strong track record of public art projects, including installations for clients including the City of Sydney, the Queen Victoria Building, Heaps Gay and the Spilt Milk Music Festival.

The pubs will host installations by the two artists for four weeks from early September into the end of 2020.