The wrapping up of the Student Sculpture exhibition with the presentation of a fabulous Paul Dimmer piece to students of St Peter’s Anglican College provides the opportunity to reflect on what has grown from the Sculpture for Clyde over the last three years.
Frances Harmey of the Sculpture for Clyde Committee says "We’re so chuffed that everyone who lives in, passes through or visits Batemans Bay for a longer time gets to view these wonderful artworks in an open air, free to all, all-hours sculpture gallery. It’s for that reason we’ve had a prepositional name change to Sculpture FOR Clyde." "It’s not widely understood that the impressive sculptures along the Clyde River – forming part of the Batemans bay Sculpture Walk - are the result of inspired thinking from both business and creative minds in our town – and that it’s an entirely voluntary and community endeavour.
"And it all happened because a few people got together and said it should! More than a hundred volunteers and an average of six thousand visitors each year have helped it succeed.
"We wanted to attract tourists to the area in the shoulder season, involve businesses in the creative arts, inspire an appreciation of sculpture and build a permanent sculpture walk on our spectacular Clyde River. It is unique in Australia that a community raises funds from within its business sector to buy sculptures for a permanent, public outdoor gallery," Ms Harmey said.
"This sculpture gallery has been built from within the community itself and support for the event has exceeded our expectations. The fact that we have now gifted seven sculptures (we hope Council will again be able to support us financially by installing two new sculptures), worth more than $300,000 to Council to enhance our town, is testament to the creativity that exists amongst us. This creativity sits alongside our ability to pull off a great event and put on a world class show for our visitors."
Dancing in the Light - photo by @jeffmorello
"Two high schools in the area now have permanent sculptures on display for the enjoyment of students because one artist in their midst has been judged to be outstanding.
Above: St Peter’s Principal Darren McPartland, Visual Arts Teacher Chris Forsythe, Frances Harmey, Paul Dimmer, Shai Cuthbert and Maddie Jones with the new sculpture won for the school by Shai. The Sculpture for Clyde Committee spokesperson said "More than 100 budding sculptors have had their work exhibited in local businesses and appreciated throughout their town in the Student Sculpture Exhibition. Many more students will have the same opportunities in the future.
"The generosity of Terry and Ginette Snow, who’ve shared their extraordinary sculpture garden at Willinga Park with us and welcomed thousands of us to their home, gave us a space when we logistically couldn’t afford to use the foreshore. This move was a disappointment to many, but Willinga Park thrilled thousands of visitors and the artists now choose to exhibit their work precisely because of the venue.
"Not everyone loves every one of the sculptures we see on the Batemans Bay Sculpture Walk but don’t you just love it when people are arguing and bickering about art, rather than politics and the state of the economy? And don’t you just love that our now beloved octopus, “Buoyansea”, is a celebrity?
Bouyansea 😍 📸 @amystarlingphotography
Frances Harmey told the Beagle "Batemans Bay is often described (by outsiders) as not having a soul. Actually, we have a very creative heart and soul. We didn’t have to prove it, but we have with Sculpture for Clyde and the many creative events that happen in our town."