Council says 'yes': Albion Park will be home to sculptures

Albion Park will now become a sculpture park following a positive vote at Forbes Shire Council’s August meeting on Thursday.

All councillors, except Cr Dennis Booth, Cr Brian Mattiske and Cr Jeff Nicholson, voted in favour of turning the empty space into a sculpture park, which would be the starting point of the ‘Somewhere Down the Lachlan Sculpture Trail’.

Council has resolved to make the park a sculpture park on the following conditions; all sculptures for display in the sculpture park are to be structurally sound and securely fitted; sculptures shall not give rise to any noise or other nuisance to any adjoining properties; sculptures are to be of a temporary nature; and all sculptures being installed are not to interfere with the safety of pedestrians using the park and surrounding footways.

Cr Booth wanted to add a fourth condition to the recommendation – that council put in place a management plan to determine what sculptures are appropriate.

However there was no seconder for that motion, so it was deleted.

General manager Brian Steffen pointed out that council had resolved to enter into a partnership with the Forbes Art Society and Forbes Services Memorial Club to establish the sculpture trail and as part of that partnership council agreed that the art society would be curators of the trail.

“Council has already agreed that the selection of sculptures would be done by the partners,” Mr Steffen said.

Mayor Ron Penny welcomes the decision to make the area a sculpture park and said that he has received a letter of consent from the owner of the land, allowing sculptures to be placed there.

“It’ll be a real attraction for people passing through and will really liven up that part of town,” he said.

“As a tourism strategy and community and cultural development, this is a really great step forward and one that could draw international interest.

“It’s an exciting time as it rolls out.”

Director of tourism, community and cultural development, Richard Morgan said this will significantly benefit Forbes.

“By having contemporary public art in a town like Forbes really sets us apart from other towns and communities – it demonstrates a forward looking vision,” he said.

“As I’ve said before, what we do today is the heritage of the future.”

Founder of the Somewhere Down the Lachlan Sculpture Trail, Rosie Johnston was thrilled with the outcome of the council meeting.

“We’re thrilled that the council has made the decision and it will be fantastic to have that used as a sculpture park in the centre of town,” she said.

Three sculptures will be launched in the park on October 1, as part of the official launch of Sculpture Forbes, which will run throughout October.

The launch will reveal the winning sculpture from the Sculpture Forbes competition, the Pyramid sculpture on loan from Gillie and Marc, and the letter ‘A’, the first letter of the ‘AMAZING’ project.

“Forbes Art Society’s vision for a world-class permanent sculpture trail has come to fruition,” Ms Johnston said.

“The committee has worked hard to plan a very special event that we believe will be informative, entertaining and fun.”

Ms Johnston said it is a coup that they can unveil the three major sculptures with the knowledge that Forbes has something special and attention-grabbing to show the region.

“It shows that our little town can mix it with the big boys: Orange, Bathurst, Wagga and Dubbo,” she said.

“The Minister for Arts, Troy Grant, certainly thinks so and is booked in to do the unveiling.”

Ms Johnston said it will put Forbes on the map.

“The fact that we can commence this trail in the centre of town, ‘the town square’, a precinct of majestic heritage buildings…is not only complimentary to our town, it is the perfect solution for drawing travellers into the CBD,” she said.