$350k needed to secure WA’s Sculpture by the Sea

$350k needed to secure WA’s Sculpture by the Sea

SCULPTURE by the Sea founder David Handley says the Department of Culture and the Arts needs to confirm support of up to $350,000 soon to ensure the long-term financial stability of the Cottesloe Beach event.

Mr Handley said grant applications were determined in late October but this was too late because calls for artists’ submissions started in mid-June.

“So we need to know before we put it out to artists around the world,” Mr Handley said.

WA Sculpture by the Sea in funding crisis 

Stunning creations at 15th Sculpture by the Sea

Kim Bongsoo, Thoughts of Pinocchio, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2019. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

A spokeswoman for Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman said no comment could be made about the timing of a decision on the grant application because it was currently under consideration.

She said Mr Templeman encouraged Sculpture by the Sea to also seek greater corporate sponsorship.

Earlier this year, the State Government invited the annual exhibition to apply for the grant.

However, Mr Handley said it could be the last of the exhibitions costing $2.3 million each year.

An endowment provided by Andrew and Nicola Forrest could cover most of this year’s costs.

“If we need much of that endowment to cover this year’s show then there won’t be much left for next year,” Mr Handley said.

A new principle corporate backer, a Perth exhibition patron and a “second-level sponsor” were needed, but any department grant would comprise about 20 per cent of costs and potentially halt the exhibition’s requests for assistance every few years.

“Ministers have listened and understood the situation, and as a result of that we received our first invitation to apply for the grant this year,” Mr Handley said.

A passerby admires one of the sculptures. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Denise Pepper, SEQUINtial Reflections, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2019. Photo: Clyde Yee

Could Cottesloe’s loss becoming Cockburn’s gain? 

Meanwhile, Cockburn deputy mayor Lee-Anne Smith has asked the City to investigate the feasibility of bringing Sculpture by the Sea to Coogee Beach.

Sculpture by the Sea made headlines recently when organisers admitted the popular artistic event’s future was uncertain due to a six-figure shortfall in corporate funding.

“This has been largely due to the cyclical nature of sponsorships where a number of key sponsors did not renew their support in the last two years, and we did not secure sufficient new sponsors to replace their support,” an event spokesperson said.

Cr Smith has asked City directors for a report as to whether it was feasible for Cockburn to bring the exhibition to Coogee Beach as part of the Coogee Live event.

She said she was disappointed when she heard about Sculpture by the Sea’s predicament but that she was “instantly excited at the thought of Cottesloe’s loss becoming Cockburn’s gain”.

She added the event brought 250,000 people to Cottesloe Beach each year, which would be a welcome boost to Cockburn visitor numbers and local businesses.

“Cockburn is currently not an iconic tourist destination, however this may assist,” she said.

“The timing aligns with our Coogee Live Festival which is still in its infancy and could do with a boost.

“The Coogee Live Festival currently attracts sponsorship from Lotterywest and Healthway and ideally, I’d love to see this sponsorship increased to attract the exhibition at no additional cost to the City.

“A report would provide costs, benefits and the feasibility of such a move.”

The 15th annual Sculpture by the Sea will close after attracting crowds up to 250,000 this Monday.

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