Work 'captures city's essence'

Public art is a tangible demonstration that the city is putting its heart into creating a better place now and for the future, Nelson Deputy Mayor Ali Boswijk said at the unveiling of the city's latest sculpture.

New Zealand artist Terry Stringer's Dance to the Music of Time sculpture was officially welcomed yesterday in a blustery sea breeze as the latest addition to Nelson's artscape.

A small crowd of onlookers and city council officials gathered at the seaside site off Kinzett Tce, at the junction of Trafalgar St and Queen Elizabeth II Dr, for the ceremony initiated by an interpretive dance by Nelson's theatre, improvisation and yoga company Body in Space.

Mrs Boswijk said a significant result of the arts strategy and its ensuing arts policy which was set in motion by earlier councils, was the need to mark gateways to Nelson city.

The $200,000 latest addition stood as a guardian of Trafalgar St and the sea. Three faces represented Nelson's aquaculture, fruit growing and wine industries, while a fourth face challenged viewers to find it.

Mrs Boswijk acknowledged public sculpture was contentious, but she said it was about more than a "piece of art".

"It demonstrates what Nelson is. Emotions created by a piece of work are difficult to articulate or quantify.

"Regardless of what people say, we have to keep putting marks on the landscape.

"It was the Heart of Nelson strategy that led to this piece. It's important we do put our heart into this place, and this demonstrates that in a tangible way," Mrs Boswijk said.

Stringer, who is from Mahurangi near Warkworth, was at yesterday's ceremony and said he was "really delighted" with how it looked on the site.

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

The $200,000 paid for the artwork, the 2-metre plinth and the concrete slab it sits on and costs such as transport and insurance.

Additional landscaping of $155,000 to improve the gateway intersection to Nelson was a separate Heart of Nelson project, and had been on the council's project list for some time, policy and planning manager Nicky McDonald said.

"Costs directly related to the sculpture, like the plinth, have come out of the arts fund budget. The $155,000 for the landscaping project was scheduled to go ahead with or without the sculpture," Ms McDonald said.

Mr Stringer shaped the sculpture in sections with clay. 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.

The sections were welded, ground and buffed, and the sculpture was then "coloured in" with chemicals.

Mr Stringer said the work's current green colour was a "presentation finish", but it would eventually take on a life of its own in verdigris.

"You never really know until something is on site how it will be. The council has given it a wonderful frame with the terracing and steps to the sea.

"Like a painting, a good frame makes the most of it," Mr Stringer said.

Suter Art Gallery director Julie Catchpole encouraged people to walk around the sculpture which "played with perceptions".

"It's fantastic to enhance the environment with sculpture, and as a result of this one, we also have this fantastic new environment here," Ms Catchpole said.

People walking to the site are encouraged to use a crossing area to the west of the roundabout which provides access to the fitness centre in the Maitai Club.

The Nelson Mail