Sculpture festival shapes up for shire funding

April 29, 2021 BY

Sonia Payes’ work "Littoral echo", comprising several heads partially buried in the Lorne foreshore, was a highlight of the 2018 event.

A BIENNIAL sculpture festival will return to Lorne later this year and organisers are busy seeking financial support for the $500,000 event, including from the Surf Coast Shire.

The 2021 Lorne Sculpture Festival is slated to begin on October 30 and run over four weekends.

In an update emailed to supporters, Lorne Sculpture Festival committee president Andrew Stobart said the uncertainty in event planning caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 meant “our opportunity to raise funds from grants and donors has been severely disrupted”.

“As a consequence, our fundraising progress is behind schedule and the committee is now extremely busy applying for a range of recently announced grants from both government and private arts funding bodies,” Mr Stobart said.

“In spite of the challenges, we are confident of achieving our fundraising plans with the continuing support of the Lorne community and visitors.”

The shire’s COVID Recovery Program is one funding opportunity the committee is pursuing, with councillors considering the $50,000 request at their meeting on Tuesday this week.

According to an update on the program presented to councillors, the event will have an overall budget of $500,000 and attract an estimated 60,000 visitors over the three weeks and four weekends it is staged.

“Past surveying of attendees indicates 65 per cent came from Melbourne, interstate, overseas or other parts of Victoria beyond the region/Geelong.

“Based on the information provided, Lorne Sculpture will generate significant visitation at an off peak time and provide flow-on benefits to accommodation, hospitality, retail and arts sector businesses as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”

The report states the shire’s assessment of the application from Lorne Sculpture Festival gave it an average score of 76, well above the required score of 60.

The centrepiece of this year’s festival will be the sculpture trail, a free exhibition with 16 individually themed precincts across Lorne, from the Point Grey pier to the Erskine River swing bridge.

The trail’s theme is “A Sense of Place”, which explores the intersection of nature, history and social connection to Lorne and the Great Ocean Road.

Themes of the precincts will include Australia’s first peoples, early settlement, shipwrecks, timber, fishing, the building of the Great Ocean Road, surfing and today’s beach culture.