Inaugural Public Art Project Goes Live in Surry Hills

Stroll past the Dove and Olive or the Shakespeare Hotel and you’ll catch a glimpse of two new public art installations, brought to you by the Surry Hills Creative Precinct.

Covid has been a difficult time for everyone, particularly our small businesses and local artists. The Surry Hills Public Art Project brings together these businesses, artists, property owners and the wider community through shared appreciation of creative, vibrant and engaging spaces.

The Surry Hills Creative Precinct and Margot Natoli Event + Project Management, with support from a City of Sydney Creative Fellowships Grant, put the call out to Sydney-based artists interested in producing a bespoke artwork to enhance an existing Surry Hills space. The iconic Dove and Olive and The Shakey are the ideal public exhibition spaces, situated on Devonshire Street, the central thoroughfare buzzing with trams and pedestrians.

The successful artists currently exhibiting are artist and nature photographer Angela Roberson-Buchanan @thebirdphotog and local artist and illustrator Jeff McCann @jeffmccann.

Pub patrons and passers-by can scan a QR code on the artwork and become instantly immersed with the story behind the artwork and connect with the pubs, affiliated businesses and the artists themselves.

“I think the Surry Hills Creative Precinct is a really important part of regenerating Surry Hills’ greatness. We need that kind of interest and enthusiasm. They are creating things that are attracting people to the area and giving people a lot of optimism when everyone is feeling quite flat and disillusioned” – Kelly Hargreaves, 2IC at Shakespeare Hotel.

“We hope that this project will allow us to expand the concept throughout the area by connecting businesses, vacant shops and pubs with artists and rest of community” – Leigh Harris, president of the Surry Hills Creative Precinct.

“As restrictions are lifting we want to celebrate our suburb’s recovery and brighten up our community spaces with unique local art” – Margot Natoli, Margot Natoli Event + Project Management.

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 October 2020.








Angela Robertson-Buchanan is “The Bird Photographer”, an award-winning professional nature photographer and published children’s author, specialising in birds.

Angela is a passionate conservationist and bird advocate as well as a wildlife carer specialising in parrots.
Combining her interests in wildlife and photography, Angela creates images, projects and exhibitions where she can convey a conservation message.

Angela is fascinated with how urban birds interact with us in cities and what we can do to increase their habitat.



Have a drink with Surry Hill’s most colourful personalities, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Rainbow Lorikeet!  Admire their inquisitiveness as they look down at you, probably looking to taste your food or drink in true cheeky parrot fashion!
We are so lucky to have our urban birdlife, but they are struggling a little.  With fewer mature trees around (due to urban developments), this Spring will be a challenge to find prime real estate, i.e. mature nest hollows.

Native birds like Parrots and Kookaburras rely on tree hollows to nest.  It takes 100 years for a tree to form a small natural hollow, 250 years for a cockatoo size one.

Perhaps we can help them out and put up nest boxes?

The aim of my art is to encourage people to notice and appreciate their urban birdlife, live harmoniously with them and also think about ways to help them.



The Dove & Olive Hotel great food + great craft beers!!





Jeff McCann is a Sydney based artist who works between the visual and performing arts through a wide range of mediums including public art, events decorations, fashion/wearables, workshops and illustration. His innovative practice strives to create inclusive work that encourages his audience to get involved.

He chooses to work with primarily sustainable and second-hand materials to create a playful and tactile quality to his work. Jeff also enjoys the challenge of taking what is considered “rubbish” and transforming it into something of value again.

Jeff has worked on installation and public art projects for clients including the City of Sydney, the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), Art Pharmacy, Heaps Gay and Spilt Milk Music festival. He has dressed performers such as Montaigne, Thelma Plum, Haiku Hands, Nina Las Vegas and Handsome. Most recently he has launched a capsule jewellery and wearables collection through the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia store (MCA) called Cact Eye.




The artwork is called “We’re All In This Together”.

During Covid-19 I have come to realise just how important plants are in creating welcoming and positive spaces. Whether if it’s a home office, living room or bedroom, plants bring an energy and life to a space that cannot be achieved in any other way.
Through a recent body of work I have been exploring the idea of how I can bring “plants” into more spaces but interpreting it in more creative ways. Through artworks of plants. These artworks could be small sculptures, wearables, home furnishing etc. (I also do not have green thumb, so this means that any chance of plants dying is eliminated.)

The inclusion of this artwork within this project is a way for me to demonstrate how we could think more creatively in social spaces. I want my artwork to help make the neighbourhood a more enjoyable place to be in. Something that makes you smile as you walk past, or perhaps that could encourage you to tell others about visiting.



Vacant Shop: Chris Momitsas, CJM Property Group
The Shakespeare Hotel
194 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
Surry Hills Business District Retail

Ground & First floor Retail/Commercial Street frontage with high pedestrian flow approx 150sqm. Rare opportunity to establish your business in this vibrant part of Surry Hills, Eastern corridor of the Sydney CBD. Short stroll to Central Station in the heart of The Surry Hills Business District.

  • Open plan layout on the ground floor
  • Revealing shop-front window display
  • Negotiable terms

Project ProducerMargot Natoli


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