Cancelled sculpture event becomes an online hit

Back in January, New Zealand’s move to Red forced the cancellation of Sculpture on the Peninsula less than a week before opening night.

Now, we have great news to share! We quickly moved to our contingency plans, taking more than 2000 photos, and cataloguing and loading the items to online art sales website NZArtbroker.

As a result, the Sculpture on the Peninsula trust confirmed this week that a significant donation of at least $75,000 will be made to Cholmondeley Children’s Centre.

Mark Whyte, Last Order
Mark Whyte, Last Order

A sudden pivot

“It was all hands to the pump to make sure we could honour the sculptors that had done so much already, and to continue to support the children of Cholmondeley,” said event organiser Gill Hay. 

Thanks to overwhelming public support, the online event generated the highest level of sales in the event’s 22 year history, but overall takings were still significantly down due to a number of fixed costs and the loss of gate and food & beverage sales. 

“Still, we were astounded by the generosity of the hundreds of opening night ticket holders, sponsors and suppliers who donated their tickets or fees," she said. 

This week, Gill confirmed to Cholmondeley Children’s Centre that at least $75,000 has been raised for the charity, which provides respite care to children in need. This donation is likely to be increased later this year once the trust has been wound up. 

Farewell to an iconic event

The January event was to be the last for Sculpture on the Peninsula.

“While we’re disappointed that we weren’t able to finish with a final event, we’re proud to have sustained the legacy of Sculpture on the Peninsula for so many years, and we are so grateful to the sculptors, volunteers and sponsors who have enabled us to support Cholmondeley for so long,” says Gill Hay.

Sculpture on the Peninsula has raised more than $825,000 for Cholmondeley Children’s Centre since the event began in January 2000.

A few thanks

And finally, we can’t go out without a few thanks and a few more memories.

We would like to acknowledge our sponsors Sally Jenkins and Graham Kerr from Barenbrug, David Fox and his team at Fox and Associates, David Pai at Embassy Coffee, Jeremy Daley and the Partners at Harmans Lawyers, Jo and Andrew MacGregor from C.Lund and Son, Jane Swinard and Chris Lee at Swinard Wooden Floors and Alec Bruce and the Partners at Wilkie and Bruce Architects. Your ongoing support and backing has been phenomenal.

We would also like to express our sincere thanks to Philip King and Sarah Lovell Smith, our hosts at Loudon. That magnificent setting was a testament to their vision, and that we have been able to make use of it for so long is a testament to their generosity.

It is impossible to express the degree of thanks owed to the dedicated Trust members and the Sculpture committee, a unique group of friends who have contributed so much: Helen Cobb, Jeremy Daley, Pete Davies, Chelsea Halliwell, Drew Hartstone, Philip King, Sarah Lovell Smith, Jules Mark, Grania Ormond, Morrin Rout, Jane Swinard, Barb Taylor, and of course event organiser Gill Hay.

Gill’s extraordinary event management talents, her culinary expertise, and her passion for the art and sculpture world have been the perfect combination. She has become an integral part of this event over its long history and none of this would have happened without her.

Of course, over 22 years, there has been sadness and it is important to acknowledge the people we lost too soon. From the founding committee we have lost Geoff Swinard, Jonty Rout and Bruce Finnerty. We also remember Wyatt Ormond and three of the artists who made significant contributions to the event Bill Hammond, Llew Summers and Jeff Instone.

Perhaps Sculpture on the Peninsula is one of the last old school type events to rely so much on the goodwill of so many. We had approximately 250 volunteers who parked cars, took tickets, made canapés, rolled ice cream, washed dishes, and did everything else under the sun. There are too many of you to thank by name but your contribution has been enormous and we are extremely grateful. A Sculpture on the Peninsula whānau has evolved over the years, and we thank every one of you.

A roll call of artists

So many interesting artists have exhibited in the last 22 years, and we have enjoyed showcasing works of both established and emerging talent. Two artists have been part of every event, blacksmith Ian Lamont and Mark Whyte, who created the stunning work used in our promotional material for the finale.

Hannah Kidd, The Watchmen
Hannah Kidd, The Watchmen

Cheryl Lucas, Laid, deranged eggs
Cheryl Lucas, Laid, deranged eggs

Aaron te Rangiao, Ten Green Bottles

Tim Wraight, The Red and Black Portal from the Marae at Otuwhero
Tim Wraight, The Red and Black Portal from the Marae at Otuwhero

Alison Erickson, Somewhere in Between
Alison Erickson, Somewhere in Between

Matt Akehurst, Adrift
Matt Akehurst, Adrift

Over the years there have been many highlights. Who can forget Hannah Kidd’s water tanks, or when Cheryl Lucas and her ceramic friends put 2000 ceramic eggs in the chook house, with the chooks. Aaron te Rangiao’s haunting Patu hung so beautifully in one of the old stable areas, the delicacy of an Alison Erickson bronze, Matt Akehurst’s tiny boat, the skill of a Tim Wraight carving, or the time before we had a Health and Safety policy when Mike Friend created a circo arts performance piece in the enormous oak tree. And of course, the raucous auction led by Joe Bennett with his enthusiastic and ingenious auctioneering skills.

Joe Bennett, auctioneer

It has been our privilege to exhibit all the works and to see the development of so many artists over the years. The event has given so much pleasure to so many.

And finally, the members of the public who came along each year and simply enjoyed the event. Thank you to all of you for your ongoing support, which made it all worthwhile.

For the last time, farewell!

The Sculpture on the Peninsula committee: Gill Hay, Helen Cobb, Jeremy Daley, Pete Davies, Chelsea Halliwell, Drew Hartstone, Philip King, Sarah Lovell Smith, Jules Mark, Grania Ormond, Morrin Rout, Jane Swinard and Barb Taylor.