Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea has been scrapped for 2020 as it was not able to secure an exemption for large gatherings.
Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea has been scrapped for 2020 as it was not able to secure an exemption for large gatherings.

Sculpture by the Sea postponed while artists go bush

It's official. Sculpture by the Sea, which crowds would have been enjoying right now if not for Covid, has been knocked off its pedestal this year. But school kids from bushfire-hit regions will be the beneficiaries.

Sculpture by the Sea founder and director David Handley said the event which attracts 450,000 visitors to Bondi will not be on this year because NSW Health had not exempted it from prohibitions on large gatherings.

 

Sculpture by the Sea 2019. Picture: Christian Gilles
Sculpture by the Sea 2019. Picture: Christian Gilles

Handley hopes it will be back clifftop in early 2021. He is even exploring holding the event at multiple venues where visitors can spread out.

In the meantime, he is going regional and taking his artists with him.

Using the budget normally spent on education at the coastal event, Handley is deploying some of the event's artists to schools in towns and rural areas that suffered the worst losses in last summer's bushfires.

Artists will work alongside school students from 33 classes in 17 schools, including All Saints School in Tumbarumba where homes, livestock and pine plantations were taken by flames.

Students at Nowra Public School in the Shoalhaven, where the Currowan Fire burned for 74 days across 499,621 hectares, will also get workshops with a Sculpture by the Sea artist.

The new outreach program will also visit three special needs schools, and yet to be named schools in northern NSW.

Sculpture by the Sea in 2019. Picture: Christian Gilles
Sculpture by the Sea in 2019. Picture: Christian Gilles

 

"Hundreds of students are going to benefit," Handley said.

The education program, funded by Sculpture by the Sea's corporate sponsors, will run alongside a paid education program for wealthier schools.

Handley is negotiating with Waverley Council and the NSW Government to hold Sculpture by the Sea early in 2021. Meanwhile, more than 100 sculptures are finished and ready to be installed on the 2km clifftop walk between Bondi and Tamarama.

Sculpture by the Sea in 2019. Picture: Christian Gilles
Sculpture by the Sea in 2019. Picture: Christian Gilles

The works are in storage in Sydney and Perth, having already cost artists a collective $1.5 million to $1.8 million to create and freight them.

"We are exploring a zillion options," Handley said.

"The worst case option is that we can do the whole thing again next October but who knows, maybe we're going to be in the same position next October? So we're looking for other options for early next year. We might have it at multiple venues."

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Originally published as Sculpture by the Sea postponed while artists go bush


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