The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail is a new permanent public collection of over 35 sculptures in eight locations across the Snowy Valleys of southern New South Wales. Sculptures by artists from across Australia and the world will be installed in the towns of Adelong, Batlow, Talbingo, Tumbarumba, the hamlet of Tooma and the Tumbarumba wine region cellar doors at Courabyra Wines, Johansen Wines and Obsession Wines.
The sculptures will be installed in three phases to open on 5 May, 2022, followed by phase two in late 2022 and phase three in April 2023.
The idea for the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail followed several months of discussion in late 2020 with locals across the Snowy Valleys in response to the idea of the Sydney based not for profit organisation Sculpture by the Sea to create a permanent outdoor sculpture collection in the Snowy Valleys as a new cultural tourism attraction for the Snowy Valleys in response to the bush fires of 2019–2020. It is widely accepted cultural tourists are by far the largest daily spending group of tourists.
Sculpture by the Sea’s original idea was to create a world class sculpture park in one location in the Snowy Valleys. However several of the people in the Snowy Valleys who were first consulted encouraged the idea to change to be a project that linked several of the towns across the Snowy Valleys. Conversations with people like Max Gordon-Hall of ‘Do it for Batlow’, Andrew Rae of Snowy Valleys Council, Robyn Sweeney of b.Atelier in Batlow, the then Mayor James Hayes and Richie Robinson of Destination Riverina Murray encouraged the idea of a project that would run along much of the Snowy Valleys Way, the road that links the towns and the vineyards with cellar doors. In this way the idea was to spread the artworks across the Snowy Valleys for the enjoyment and benefit of locals and visitors alike, including as a basis for schools education program.
This concept was then discussed more widely with community organisations in Adelong, Batlow, Tumbarumba and Tooma between locals or directly with the founder of Sculpture by the Sea David Handley and the team working on the development of what came to be known as the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail. Key local organisations and businesses consulted in addition to those mentioned above include: Artists on Parade in Tumbarumba, Lions of Tumbarumba, Tumut Art Society, Enterprise Batlow, Batlow Rotary, Adelong Alive Museum, the Local Brungle Tumut Aboriginal Land Council, schools including Batlow Tech and Tumbarumba Public, Brigham House, Tooma Inn, Nest Café and Eastern Riverina Arts.
There will be some 35 sculptures installed in the collection in three phases.
The first phase will see over 20 sculptures installed by 5 May, 2022 including:
• Adelong Creek Walk – ten sculptures
• Batlow – four sculptures and two shop art projects on Pioneer Street
• Courabyra Wines – two sculptures
• Johansen Wines – two sculptures
• Tumbarumba – six sculptures (including three sculptures installed in December 2021 gifted by the Friendship Society of Denmark, Australia and New Zealand) and one shop art project on The Parade
• Obsession Wines – one sculpture
• Tooma – one sculpture
The sculptures to be installed in phases two and three are being made specifically for the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail following visits to the area by artists. It is currently envisaged another two or three additional sculptures will be installed in Tumbarumba and three or four in Batlow and Adelong. The Adelong Creek Walk is the largest suitable location for public sculpture in the Snowy Valleys.
A key part of the project is the Schools Program with artist led sculpture making workshops for the students across the Snowy Valleys. This program has been embraced by the students and teachers, and by the end of the second week of term two of 2022 some 1,250 students from 14 of the 16 schools across the Snowy Valleys will have participated in workshops with artists from around Australia and across the world – some students already participating two or three times. We look forward to continuing to work with the students and teachers across the Snowy Valleys hopefully for many years to come.
The sculptures are chosen by a Local Community Advisory Committee who have been working on the project since July 2021. This local committee is comprised of the following representatives from each town:
• Angela Pearce, Adelong;
• Robyn Sweeney, Batlow;
• Laura Fraumeni, Tumbarumba;
• Jeff Sheather, Tooma;
• Vic Goustavsky, Talbingo; and
• Glen McGrath, Snowy Valleys Council.
The Local Community Advisory Committee selects the sculptures from a short list prepared by the Curatorial Advisory Group of leading figures in the Visual Arts from across Australia:
• Geoffrey Edwards, former Director of the Geelong Art Gallery, former Senior Curator Sculpture & Glass National Gallery of Victoria, and Curatorial Adviser Pt Leo Estate Sculpture Park;
• Dr Michael Hill, Head of Art History & Theory, National Art School; and
• Wendy Teakel, Artist and former Head of Sculpture, Australian National University.
The sculptures in the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail are by artists from across the world, Australia and regional NSW. In the first phase the artists from regional NSW are from Walcha, Portland, Murrumbateman, Queanbeyan and Maitland. The international artists are from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Japan, New Zealand, Slovakia and South Africa. In the next phase we have already confirmed artists from China and Ukraine.
The sculptures in the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail will be announced at the opening of the collection on 5 May, 2022.
The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail aims to deliver the following benefits to the people of the Snowy Valleys:
• Public sculpture collections in the towns of Adelong, Batlow, Tumbarumba and the hamlet of Tooma that we hope are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike;
• A new cultural tourism attraction that will be an additional reason for travellers and tourists to visit the Snowy Valleys and to stay longer. In turn, in the months and years to come this will result in more income for local businesses and it is hoped this will encourage more business to be created that will provide accommodation and services for the visitors;
• To add to the enjoyment of visitors to the Tumbarumba region wine trail when they visit the vineyards and wineries
with cellar doors. In turn this will increase the national and international profile of the wines produced in the Tumbarumba region;
• A basis for the new schools program to be woven into the local schools curriculum including introducing students across the Snowy Valleys to sculpture as an art form and artists around Australia and around the world. It is recognised internationally that arts programs that enable the direct participation of students in making art helps those students with their education in general and developing their self-confidence and life skills;
• To create jobs in the Snowy Valleys by directly employing local people and contractors for the development and creation of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail. This includes to date one permanent staff member and many contractors from truck and machinery companies to photographers and film makers;
• The direct purchase of goods and services from local businesses in a wide range of industries based across the Snowy Valleys from Tumut to Tooma; and
• Marketing the Snowy Valleys across Australia and internationally through the Sculpture by the Sea social and digital media channels and marketing materials when exhibitions are staged in Sydney and Perth.
The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail has been funded by a $4M grant from the New South Wales government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.
As a Local Economic Recovery Project, the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the New South Wales Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
The development costs for the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail were initially funded by the not for profit organisation Sculpture by the Sea Incorporated from September 2020 – March 2021, until funding for most of the development costs was received from a very welcome Create NSW ‘Rescue and Restart’ grant to help sustain the not for profit organisation during Covid which saw Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi cancelled in 2020 and 2021.
Funding for the Snowy Valleys Schools Program in 2020 was provided by the Sydney based donors to the Sculpture by the Sea School Education Program, notably the Caledonia Foundation.
Funding for the Snowy Valleys Schools Program in the first half of 2021 was provided by the Sydney based donors to the Sculpture by the Sea School Education Program, notably the Caledonia Foundation. They were joined in the second half of 2021 and 2022 by the Federal Government’s RISE Fund grant to Sculpture by the Sea Incorporated to assist the organisation during Covid.
Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi is an annual free to the public exhibition of over 100 sculptures by artists from around the world staged in spring each year on the 2km Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk in Sydney. Begun in 1997 as a one day exhibition run by volunteers working out of the Founding Director’s lounge room, the exhibition quickly grew to be the largest and best attended annual sculpture exhibition in the world. Held over 18 days the Bondi exhibition is visited by an estimated 420,000 – 480,000 people each year.
In 2005 Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe was created on Perth’s Cottesloe beach with over 70 sculptures by artists from around the world attended by an estimated 200,000 – 240,000 people.
Each exhibition has a heavily subsidised Schools Program with artist led tours and sculpture making workshops for a combined 4,000+ students each year.
The Bondi and Cottesloe exhibitions are run by a not for profit organisation with staff in Sydney and Perth funded by corporate sponsorship, philanthropic donations, commission on sculpture sales and government funding.
The not for profit organisation that runs the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail also organises the annual free to the public exhibitions Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi in Sydney and Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe in Perth. We look forward to working with the Snowy Valleys Council to continue to develop the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail so that it becomes an important part of the local community and another reason for people to visit the beautiful Snowy Valleys.
A not for profit organisation is one where any profits earned cannot be distributed to the members but must be used by the organisation for its purposes.