Does Marlborough need more visual art?
A couple of weeks ago, nine massive circular concrete creations arrived in Wellington on heavy transporters and were lowered into the harbour by crane.
The giant kina, weighing between 5 and 7 tonnes apiece, cost a total of $340,000.
They were not some new navigation aid or breakwater brought in by Centreport, but the latest piece of public art commissioned by the Wellington Sculptural Trust to beautify the city waterfront.
And beautiful they are, poking above the waterline where they can be enjoyed as a large organic-shaped form, or as a playground for the more adventurous when the tide is out.
Wellington City Council was involved in the project, but most of the cost came from the sculptural trust and private donors, in a similar way that the city has gradually built up a large collection of art in its public spaces. There is the Pacific Grass installation on the airport turnoff roundabout, with others dotted along the Evans Bay foreshore as part of the Wind Sculpture Walk.
Others include the collapsed columns in Lambton Quay, the water buckets in Cuba Mall and the wind man on the pier outside Te Papa.
The capital has become known for the interesting art in its public spaces, mostly funded by the sculpture trust and private donors.
This is the sort of arrangement councillor David Dew had in mind when he suggested to Marlborough District Council that a similar trust be set up here. And well done the council for recognising a good idea and giving it full support.
Some ratepayers aired their concerns about the council being distracted from its core role of providing essential public services, saying they would rather have fewer potholes and better water supply than a few statues dotted about the place.
Cr Dew, a self-proclaimed watcher of council budgets, would be the last person to suggest frivolous spending. His intention in going to the council was to make sure a Marlborough sculpture trust has the council's backing rather than fighting it for space to put its artworks.
Otherwise the council's involvement, and funding, would be minimal.
This is an idea to be supported. The sculptures will brighten our townscape, stimulate discussion and give the place another point of interest.
- The Marlborough Express