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Mac's Sculpture Symposium

Media Release
July 10, 2006

Mac’s Sculpture Symposium

A top line up of established and emerging New Zealand sculptors has been confirmed for this year’s Mac’s Sculpture Symposium, set to begin on September 30th as part of the Nelson Arts Festival.

Funding from Creative New Zealand has helped to bring some out of town sculptors to Nelson for the event, and the thirteen to take part were selected from 24 who submitted proposals. The sculptors selected from the Nelson region are Andrea Chandler, Adrienne Tait, Deborah Walsh, Graham Snowden, Jim McKay, Ben Foster, Nigel Petersen, Bill Schoffelmeer, Grant Scott and Andrew Bryden. The ‘away’ sculptors are Donald Buglass from Hokitika, James Webster from Whitianga and Nigel Scanlon from Waiheke.

Symposium manager Tim Wraight said the Mac’s Sculpture Symposium is unique to Nelson.

“It is rare to have an outdoor event that is open to the public during the making period, the other unusual feature is that we allow all and any media - the range this year includes concrete, wood, copper wire, cast aluminium and soft materials,” he said. “And there are some original concepts ranging from Adrienne Tait’s political and interactive work called Mortarfied through to Bill Schoffelmeer’s plan to take a tree down to a stack of firewood - we’re expecting some great talking points!”

Wraight says among the stars is Graham Snowden who grew up in Nelson and recently returned home after living in Korea for two years. He has some high profile works such as the bright yellow Construction 2 near Arrowtown and the sister work in the Price Waterhouse Cooper building in downtown Auckland. Snowden will be working at the symposium on three brightly coloured aluminium works.

In contrast, James Webster from Whitianga is an emerging Maori artist, using traditional and contemporary materials to explore the history of his people and the land. Webster will be carving a large scale gateway (puwaha) from locally sourced macrocarpa.

The symposium has moved out of the central city this year to the tranquil leafy surrounds of Albion Square, a heritage area with old buildings, including the firehouse where the victims of the Maungatapu murders were laid out, and Nelson’s original fish hatchery. The Nelson Arts Festival will be based at Albion Square this year, with theatre and music performances at the Suter Theatre, historic St John’s church and at the Deutz Lighthouse festival club.

Wraight said Albion Square was an ideal site for the sculptors to work in, it would make a very attractive backdrop for the sculptures and would attract a lot of visitors to see the work in progress and the exhibition of competed works that runs from Saturday October 14 to the Monday of Labour Weekend. The works will be auctioned online by Fishers Fine Arts, as they were last year.

“This proved to increase the exposure we can offer to the sculptors, and the attention focused on Nelson from significant arts collectors and buyers,” he said. “The sculpture symposium is a great fit with Nelson’s image and reputation as an arts and crafts centre.”

The Nelson Arts Festival is produced by the Nelson City Council as a celebration of the arts in the Nelson community for locals and visitors. Details on line at

Albion Square, Hardy Street (opposite NMIT) Nelson
30 September – 12 October
Gala Opening
The launch of the exhibition of sculptures, open to the public, Saturday 14 October, 4pm.
The on-line auction begins, at
Sculpture Exhibition and On-line Auction
The sculptures will be completed and on exhibition in Albion Square throughout the Nelson Arts Festival. Sunday 15 – Monday 23 October. Open all day.
Top bidders on each piece will be notified after closing on Labour Monday (23 Oct) evening. On-line viewing and bidding available at the sculpture site at Albion Square.


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