Sculpture trust for public art projects

A trust's proposal to donate a 10-metre high moving sculpture to the people of Marlborough prompted the proposal to set up a Marlborough Sculpture Trust, Marlborough District councillor David Dew said yesterday.

Cr Dew's proposal for the sculpture trust was adopted at the council community and financial planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

The bulk of the trust's funding would come from private donors, with the council contributing a base rate each year, he said.

"Council would put in some seed money to start with but we do not have a lot of money at the moment.

"This is about getting the idea going so people realise this is possible."

The council would consult the public on what sort of sculptures they wanted, Cr Dew said.

No private donors or potential artists had been discussed, he said.

"We're nowhere near that far yet."

The Coulthard Arts Trust last year proposed a 10 metre-high moving stainless steel and fibreglass structure to be placed behind the new Civic Theatre on the banks of the Taylor River, on Hutcheson St in Blenheim.

Auckland sculptor Grant Williams was to make the piece, which would be similar to other work he has done.

He told the council last year it would be about balance and movement, representing potential and growth.

"It's very positive."

The Coulthard Arts Trust was set up with a donation from Dorothy Coulthard, who lived in Blenheim from 1973 until her death in 2007.

Councillors spoke with Millenium Art Gallery director Cressida Bishop at that time, who showed her support for the project, Cr Dew said.

Ms Bishop said public art made towns look more vibrant and happy. Blenheim had some artwork and people were interested in those.

"A lot of communities throughout New Zealand were starting to focus on bringing in public art," she said. "But you need the right infrastructure in place, like a trust to oversee and manage the project."

Mayor Alistair Sowman said the concept of providing more visual art for residents and visitors was long overdue.

The Marlborough Express