6 November 2023

Shape of big things to come: South Coast sculpture prize boosted to $100,000 for 2024

| Claire Sams
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a sculpture in a paddock under a cloudy sky

Weed by Richard Moffatt took home the Acquisitive Award in 2023, with the money for the next winner increasing from $60,000 to $100,000. Photo: Sculpture for Clyde/Facebook.

It’s well known as one of the many arts events on the coast, and now Sculpture for Clyde has received a financial boost.

The Acquisitive Award prize money has been increased from $60,000 to $100,000, bringing the total prize pool to more than $120,000.

Director David Maclachlan said the increase would help attract “world-class sculptures” to the regional event.

“The bottom line is, you pay for what you get,” he said.

“We started with $20,000 [prize money] and it went to $30,00, $50,000 and then to $60,000.”

One element of Sculpture for Clyde is the Acquisitive Award, where the winning entry is selected to join the Sculpture Walk on the local foreshore.

“The Sculpture Walk has a legacy of high-quality works,” Mr Maclachlan said.

“If you want to keep getting entrants like that, you’ve really got to match what happens in metropolitan areas.”

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Mr Maclachlan said increasing prize money for art events and competitions in regional areas to match metropolitan sums was one way to support regional and rural artists.

“In a regional area, it just doesn’t have the industry, resources and money of a metropolitan area,” he said.

“More often than not, you just don’t get the large art galleries and museums you’ll find in metropolitan areas.

“You’ve got to put in the money – and that’s what we’re doing.”

Mr Maclachlan said Sculpture for Clyde’s success was down to continued support, including financial sponsorship.

“It’s got support from small business, the community, the council, Destination NSW, and there’s even federal support,” he said.

Mr Maclachlan said planning was underway for the 2024 event, with the increased prize money just one of the changes in store.

“It’s not just the $100,000 Acquisitive Prize, it’s how the event is improving overall,” he said.

“The event’s matured and we’ve learnt a lot.”

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Mr Maclachlan said regional arts events were growing to rival their counterparts in the big cities – and the benefits were clear.

“There’s a lot of sculpture events around Australia and a lot in New South Wales,” he said.

“Near us, there’s sculpture events in Bermagui, up at Jindabyne and Mudgee.

“You’ve got sculpture events through the year, which is fantastic, but a lot of those are in regional areas, which is really important for tourism.

“We had 26,000 people attend Sculpture for Clyde in 2023, and over 80 per cent of them came from outside the area.”

Entries in the Sculpture for Clyde Acquisitive Award will close at the end of November, while entries for other awards will remain open until February 2024.

“What usually happens is that it’s just a last-minute flurry,” he said.

“That always happens, and I think that will be the case this time around as well.”

Sculpture for Clyde will be held at the Batemans Bay foreshore from 25 May to 2 June, 2024.

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DB Stevenson9:14 pm 04 Dec 23

Well Mr MacLachan is certainly putting pressure on the councilors before tomorrows meeting!!! Council already gave him $20,000 for this sculpture event earlier this year and now he wants another $20,000 plus the waiving of $8,000 in council fees and an in-kind contribution of council staff time. All to be waved through without any formal application process. Why doesn’t he just reduce the prize money by $20,000 and save us rate payers money which could be better spent on a number of other more worthwhile projects. The most I can apply for is a $500 community grant and I have to go through a formal process and compete with others also wanting funding. I guess if you have donated to the election campaigns of 4 of the 9 councilors you don’t have to worry about due process….

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