HELEN MUSA’s weekly arts column features opening concerts and shows in Canberra.
AS Canberra Grammar School’s Gallery celebrates its 25th birthday, the school has just opened its gates to a whopping outdoor sculpture festival, a follow-up to the inaugural sculpture festival in 2014.
Director and well-known Canberra artist Trevor Dunbar told “CityNews” that the earlier sculpture exhibition marked the school’s 85th birthday and this anniversary of the gallery, founded by Dorothy Danta in 1992, “seemed like a good excuse”.
It’s all part of an ongoing program, not just a showcase, he stresses, in its effort to support young and emerging artists regionally and nationally in their development. Making good this aim, the school has sponsored two artists-in-residence for the festival, Anton Poon and Keith Bender, who are also recipients of ANU Emerging Artist Support Scheme studio residencies at the school.
The previous exhibition and Small Sculpture Prize was held during springtime in the school’s glorious gardens, but doubtless autumn will probably prove no less perfect for showing off entries that Grammar art gurus Graeme Wiggins and Dunbar say range from “the ephemeral to the monumental”.
Dunbar says “Sculpture on the Campus” is not amateur, but will be made up of submissions from professional artists from Canberra and surrounding regions. As we spoke, he was installing artworks by Heidi McGeogh and Peter Vandermark ahead of an avalanche of 50 selected sculptures coming from Melbourne, the south coast, Sydney and the central west of NSW.
Central to the event is the 2017 CGS Harris Hobbs Outdoor Sculpture Prize of $10,000, donated by Canberra landscape architects Karina Harris and Neil Hobbs, who also sponsored the earlier Small Sculpture Prize.
The school’s Red Hill campus is already home to five permanent outdoor sculpture acquisitions, funded from commissions from exhibitions in the CGS Gallery over the past 25 years, including large-scale installations by sculptors Suzie Bleach, Andy Townsend and David Jensz.
“It is the intention of the school to make the campus a living gallery for our students and staff to engage with,” Dunbar says.
“Sculpture on the Campus”, Canberra Grammar School, 40 Monaro Crescent, Red Hill, until Saturday, June 18. Members of the public are welcome throughout the festival season.