Carving Out Creativity at Sculpture on the Edge

Image source: Contributed

Georgia Beard explores the evolution of Sculpture on the Edge into an immersive arts festival, empowering local creatives to make their mark on the national arts industry.

Striking out beyond its borders, Sculpture on the Edge has transformed from a local sculptural competition into an immersive arts festival attracting globally-recognised artists.

From 23 November to 10 December, Arts Connect Inc. invites us to roam the sprawling lawns, meandering garden paths and vast halls of Flaxton Gardens, all embedded with abstract and figurative sculpture.

Alongside art encounters, the festival will expand with an 18-day program of local food, live music, artist talks, workshops and masterclasses, including Quiet Mondays for visitors who struggle with sensory overload.

Monte Lupo Arts and Paintbox Art School welcome artists of all ages and abilities to experience clay and painting workshops, while Janna Pameijer offers a more advanced clay masterclass.

Explore wax to bronze sculpture with Lainie Cooper; portrait painting with Jessica Ashton; landscape painting with Robert Dujin; and professional development for artists with Barry Alsop, Tina Cooper and last year’s Overall Winner Nicole Voevodin-Cash.

Led by Jinibara artist BJ Murphy, Sculpture on the Edge’s inaugural First Nations program will feature workshops in firestick making, clapstick making, ochre painting and walking and talking on country.

On 2 December, the highly anticipated Sculpted Dinner returns with a menu curated by the Flaxton Gardens team and Australian food stylist Jaime Reyes.

Nicole Voevodin-Cash also joins a diverse collection of curators to decide the Sculpture on the Edge finalists, armed with experience in sculptural curation at Noosa’s Sculpture by the Sea during the 2000 Summer Olympics and Townsville’s Ephemera.

“As an artist myself, I am honoured to collaborate with the talented team and contribute to the unfolding narrative that Sculpture on the Edge promises to deliver,” Nicole says. “It’s an artistic odyssey that celebrates the convergence of imagination and artistry, and I couldn’t resist being a part of it.”

When selecting finalists, she searches for works integrating seamlessly with the landscape, as if they had sprouted from the soil or made a home of their habitat.

“I am particularly intrigued by works that embody a compelling narrative, reflecting the artists’ process of creation and the material’s dialogue with the environment,” Nicole shares.

“By curating pieces that resonate harmoniously with the gardens, I aim to create an immersive experience that elevates both the artworks and the natural beauty of the location.”

Responding to the competitive works, Arts Connect Inc. has mustered a panel of judges diverse in arts practice and experience.

Alongside Noosa Regional Gallery’s Michael Brennan, a second judge and multimedia artist Justene Williams joins the panel with a 20-year legacy of creation and exhibition in 3D media.

Her prolific works in sculpture, installation and audio-visual performance has led her from Sydney and Melbourne to New Zealand to Canada, experimenting with theatrical Dadaism and Futurism.

During the Opening Night on 23 November, the judges will announce the official prize winners of six categories, including Overall Winner; Highly Commended; Local Artist; Reclaimed & Recycled Art; Artist’s Choice Peer Award; and Emerging Artist.

Despite the competition’s worldwide invitation, it is the locally-focused hearts of our community who ensure our sculptural artists have room to grow.

Flaxton Gardens and the De Deyne Family have provided $10,000 and $5,000 respectively to the Overall Winner and Highly Commended prizes.

Alongside Illume Creations, The Opal Cutter, Tina Cooper Glass Gallery, Montville Art Gallery, Bodo Muche Studio, the Montville Chamber of Commerce and Hammond Optometry, all sponsors have generously donated a total prize pool of $22,000.

Sculpture on the Edge Director Gretchen Keelty said they were grateful for the support of Sunshine Coast Council, through its grants programs as well as several councillors who had provided further assistance to ensure that the event was a success.

“Council has shown that it understands the value that these events bring both to the community and to the local economy,” she said. “Telstra has also joined us as a sponsor to improve the connectivity at Flaxton Gardens so that visitors can have a more connected experience, including an online voting system for People’s Choice.”

On the Board of Directors for the Sunshine Coast Arts Foundation, Ferre De Deyne envisions a community where our creatives shape the topography of art industries everywhere.

“The arts are the basis of our society,” he says. “A community without art is a community without a soul.

“There’s so much talent on the Sunshine Coast, and we want to grab hold of it and push it and let the world know they’re here.”

Sculpture on the Edge, 8am-4pm, 23 November-10 December 2023, Flaxton Gardens, Flaxton. www.sculptureontheedge.com.au

VOTE FOR PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS

Attend Sculpture on the Edge and vote for your favourite sculpture to go in the draw to win the Voter’s Prize for People’s Choice – an accommodation package from Lovestone Cottages!

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