Cr Mark Edwards with Ted Upton in our front cover picture
In what is a major coup for the Bay Islands and Division 5 of Redland City Council, Australia's richest prize for Australian sculpture will be a feature of our future annual calendar.
The prize will be worth in the vicinity of $35,000, with the potential to be double that figure or more in the future.
The sculpture prize has come about because of the efforts of Cr Mark Edwards from a suggestion that came to the Friendly Bay Islander.
We received a message from Shirley Burnside of Karragarra Island, stating it was a 'shame' some of the recent entries in the 4 Islands Festival Sculpture prize, 'could not stay on our islands'.
The Friendly Bay Islander went to Cr Mark Edwards with a suggestion that local timber sculpture exponent, Ted Upton, might be commissioned to develop works to be placed around our islands with themes relating to our early colonial and aboriginal heritage, telling the story of each island in a 'visitor walk'.
Cr Edwards was enthusiastic to our suggestion and made some investigations, and came back with an outstanding outcome for our islands, Division 5 and the future of the arts here.
He discovered that the Division qualified for a major arts investment to a total of $35,000, based on certain conditions:
• The award is to encompass all of Division 5;
• The first three placegetters in the sculpture prize are to be 'acquisitive'; that is to be retained by council as the sponsor and, thereby, the community, to be placed on a permanent basis around the the islands and Redland Bay;
• That there be an 'open section' for sculpture works not wishing to be acquisitive;
• That there be a financial consideration in the prize structure that will see local sculptors be able to produce works to a 'nominated' theme throughout our islands and Division 5;
• That the inaugural prize has to be run before June 31, 2016, in the term of this financial year.
Cr Edwards says in its present form, the prize already qualifies as Australia's richest sculpture prize.
"However, I believe it is possible to add considerably to the prize and I am already speaking with possible contributors who, I believe, may wish to be part of this exciting artistic prize."
Cr Edwards says the development of Weinam Creek could play a major role in the Sculpture Prize.
"The re-developed park and waterway areas will be the gateway to the islands where the artistic prize can start, and progress with placement of winning prizes over the years at Redland Bay and each of the four Friendly Bay Islands."
The councillor says there is no doubt that the new Australia's Richest Sculpture Prize will be a success.
"The recent sculpture prize associated with the successful 4 Islands Festival had fantastic entries for a prize of $2000.
"The $35,000 or more that we will be able to offer should have enormous implications for the artistic community."
The Division 5 councillor said he had 'no problems' with the event being run in conjunction with the 4 Islands Festival next year.
"The only condition is that it has to be brought forward and needs to include all of Division 5 to be run and won before June 30, 2016," he said.
Steve Morgan, the organiser of the 4 Islands Festival, says he has 'no qualms' running the festival at an earlier time.
"We have everything in place with some improvements to be made after our first attempt, but it should be fine and very rewarding, considering the results of our first effort."
Leading island sculptor, Ted Upon, is beside himself with the outcome.
"It has always been my ambition to see the arts develop on these islands and Division 5. This is a halcyon place to be an artist, and I believe the scope and depth of this prize will have enormous positive implications."
"I am confident it will attract more and more artists in all mediums to come and work and live on our islands," he said.