By Emily Norman
Masterton’s northern roundabout sculpture may be up by Christmas.
No official date has been set for the Neil Dawson sculpture’s ascension, but after a successful art auction fundraiser on Friday night, Aratoi Foundation chairman Bob Francis says he hopes the $286,000 artwork will be installed before the year is through.
“Neil Dawson has been underway with work on the sculpture for just over a month now,” Mr Francis said.
“We haven’t got a date for completion, and this is being reasonably ambitious, but we’re still hoping to get it up by this side of Christmas.
“But that’s being reasonably ambitious, we’ve still got a bit of money to raise.”
The art auction fundraiser at the Carterton Events Centre featured 70 works of art over a range of mediums by about 50 recognised New Zealand artists.
Mr Francis said the money raised from the auction was still being “assessed”, but it would add to previously pledged funds of $150,000 from Trust House and $50,000 from Lands Trust Masterton.
Some of the higher bid items at the art auction included a Neil Dawson sculpture, which sold for $9700, a Neil Frazer painting, $9000, a Pat Hanley screen print, $7500, art by Gretchen Albrecht, $7500, and photography by Fiona Pardington, $6200.
“It was a superb night really, we had a big sell-out crowd and the foundation are obviously just so delighted with the result,” Mr Francis said.
“The feedback since has been really encouraging.”
Plans for the pricey sculpture were made public last July, with the artwork initially forecasted for installation around mid-2016.
Although the work has faced some opposition from the public, it was given the blessing of Masterton District Council who voted to take ownership of the sculpture in March.
This means council will front the costs of yearly ongoing maintenance including estimations of $500 for cleaning, $4000 for engineering inspections, $700 for electricity, and $800 for insurance.
The sculpture will be supported by wires attached to high poles on each of four corners, and NZTA has indicated it would like to see protection bollards around the base of each pole.