CREATIVE ANSWERS: Sculpture in the Park organiser, artist David Southgate, said Urunga had to look for new ways to attract visitors.
CREATIVE ANSWERS: Sculpture in the Park organiser, artist David Southgate, said Urunga had to look for new ways to attract visitors.

Sculpture event to fill park with art for one day

ARTURUNGA'S Sculpture in the Park co-ordinator David Southgate says necessity has provided a brilliant solution to some of the problems which have plagued other sculpture exhibitions.

Sculpture in the Park is a one-day-only event at Urunga's riverside Morgo St Reserve and this year it will be held on Sunday, January 15, from 10am to 4pm, with more than 50 sculptures on show.

"Because it's only one day, the sculptors don't have to worry about the work being lasting - it only has to survive one day, " Mr Southgate said.

"And they can't forget about it, they have to come and collect it at 4pm," he said.

Mr Southgate said as well as avoiding the cost of insuring work left in a public place overnight and offering a space for artists to experiment with fragile and lightweight materials, the format avoided a little-known downside of long-term sculpture exhibitions - redundant sculptures left behind by recalcitrant sculptors.

"We know of situations where organisers have been left with storehouses full of work after a sculpture exhibition," he said.

Run on a shoestring budget, with support from the Urunga-Mylestom Chamber of Commerce, local business houses, Bellingen Shire Council and North Coast Holiday Parks, Sculpture in the Park has grown steadily since it began four years ago.

This year visitors will see at least 50 different works from well-known sculptors and local individuals, families and local schools.

Those entering work are encouraged to address the show's underlying theme of sustainability, either in the subjects they choose or the materials they use.

 

This flock of little terns, created from two-litre milk bottles by Sawtell Public School students, was a prizewinner in 2016.
This flock of little terns, created from two-litre milk bottles by Sawtell Public School students, was a prizewinner in 2016.

Recycled materials are often prominent, shown in last year's giant Gangarru by Nick Warfield, which incorporated old furniture, and the flock of little terns in flight created by Sawtell Primary School students, which was made from two-litre milk bottles.

A painter, potter, art teacher, traveller, marketer and business man, Mr Southgate, who describes himself as an "autodidact", brought together his self-taught knowledge and his wide-ranging contacts to launch Sculpture in the Park with the help of wife May. This year for the first time they have the help of a small committee.

The Southgates operated their studio pottery, gallery and holiday accommodation at Hungry Head for 21 years and still live in the area, which they love.

Ms Southgate's mobility problems, the result of an accident, do not stop her from helping her husband with Sculpture in the Park and taking part on the day.

"I'm the admin person in the tent," she said.

"The sculptures are just wonderful."

David travels to Nambucca and Sawtell to teach art and still has a pottery studio "although I haven't fired up the kiln for three years."

He has however fired up plenty of enthusiasm for the sculpture project as well as for Urunga's other new annual events like Carols Urunga and Mother's Day and Father's Day events.

A good chunk of the sculpture budget goes to prizes, including a People's Choice Award, so save the date and become an art critic for a day.

There will be music with The Jug Addicts from Armidale and Bellingen jazz legend Brett Iggulden and the Nighthawks plus food, beverages and the Riverside Markets. Entry is free and everyone is welcome.



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