Negotiations are under way to keep Sculpture by the Sea in Cottesloe for the next decade with organisers confident of bringing back the event which finished early this year because of the pandemic.
The future of the event was looking murky after the public was called on, to make donations to fund the cash-strapped beach exhibition but founder David Handley said it was working towards a show next year.
“What gives us some hope and confidence for the future is the extraordinary response from the public for a donation when they visited the exhibition,” he said.
“We’re very much hopeful, like everyone, that the world will largely return to normal, we’re working with our partners in that direction.
“We’re also lucky in that the Bondi show is scheduled for late October, if we’ve got to put any special requirements in place we’ll have tested that with Bondi first.
“The New South Wales Government reached out to us about a month ago to give us a check on our artistic and financial health … we’re very pleased to have them reach out to us totally unsolicited.”
Mr Handley said Sculpture was lucky in that freight was its biggest issue in putting on a show as opposed to other arts festivals which flew in international artists.
He said organisers were, however, looking into the potential of inviting a major New Zealand artist to the next Cottesloe exhibition in a situation where international borders were relaxed between Australia and it’s neighbour across the Tasman Sea.
As part of Sculpture’s bid to stay in Cottesloe it is asking the host local government to provide cash as part of a licencing agreement instead of a provision where an exhibit would be purchased at the end of every show.
Town of Cottesloe staff say $70,000 in its draft 2020-21 budget for art acquisition could instead go to sponsorship.
The local government’s administration has also suggested any new licence should run for five years and only be extended based on mutual agreement.
Mr Handley said he was keen to see the event stay in Cottesloe.
“It’s a fantastic location for Sculpture by the Sea, it is almost unique in the world,” he said.
It’s a fantastic location for Sculpture by the Sea, it is almost unique in the world.
Organisers have been fervently against moving the event to any other WA beach despite overtures from the City of Stirling, City of Fremantle and City of Cockburn in recent years.
Mr Handley has said in the past other locations did not stack up with Cottesloe Beach’s amphitheatre-like quality.
Public donations of more than $95,000, which were matched by billionaire Andrew Forrest, had averted a “disaster” for the exhibition this year and Mr Handley could not rule out seeking similar support in the future if sponsorship was lacking.