Delay to gateway artwork erection

MORE TIME: The $200,000 Terry Stringer sculpture destined for Nelson is a work in progress, with a three-month delay due to last December’s deluge.
MORE TIME: The $200,000 Terry Stringer sculpture destined for Nelson is a work in progress, with a three-month delay due to last December’s deluge.

The artist behind Nelson's gateway sculpture has been given extra time to complete his 5.5-metre bronze artwork, with a three-month delay on its installation due to last December's rain.

Terry Stringer's Dance to the Music of Time sculpture will greet visitors as they arrive in Nelson city from the north, sitting on a two-metre pedestal near the intersection of Queen Elizabeth II Dr and Trafalgar St.

Resource consent for the sculpture was granted in October last year, and it was expected to be in place by August.

Nelson City Council policy and planning manager Nicky McDonald said engineering staff had been diverted to flood recovery projects, and couldn't get the landscaping of the area completed in time for August.

"Terry has been very good at accommodating this and we are set to have it installed on November 15," she said.

Stringer, who has a studio an hour north of Auckland, said the sculpture was "more or less on schedule", but it was useful to have some extra time.

He and two helpers shaped the sculpture in sections with clay, starting from the top and working their way down.

The "bite-sized pieces" were then used to create wax moulds, which were sent to Monument Sculpture Foundry in Onehunga.

Liquid bronze replaced the wax when it melted, in a method called the lost-wax casting process.

Stringer said he got the sculpture into an upright position yesterday, and "it stood perfectly".

"We had to make sure that everything was properly aligned, and I'm really pleased it was. It doesn't look like it's going to balance, but it's good that it does. I had a chance to critique all the parts that we'd joined," he said.

The sections needed to be welded, ground and buffed, and the sculpture would then be "coloured in" with chemicals that "make it look like it has been standing near the sea for a long time".

Stringer said he was looking forward to seeing his creation in place in Nelson, as "things change dramatically outside".

"It won't look huge, but I'm hoping that it will look right. It mustn't look silly and small."

The $200,000 allocated to the project by the council paid for the artwork, the 2m plinth and the concrete slab it will sit on as well as associated costs, like transport and insurance.

Stringer beat 44 local, national and international artists to the commission, after a selection panel shortlisted three artists to develop concepts.

A third of the responses to the council's brief were from the Nelson region, a third were from overseas and the rest were from other parts of the country.

Initial reaction to his sculpture was mixed, with some saying the council should have spent the money on infrastructure.

Others decried the "moaning Mildreds" who opposed the sculpture.

The council unveiled another $200,000 sculpture by Spanish artist Juanjo Novella in Miyazu Park in June.

The Nelson Mail