Published January 21, 2018 06:02
We want to foster a ground swell of support to reopen the sculpture park and arboretum as a free-entry public space. This would enable many more people to enjoy it. All we need is to cover the costs of maintaining the park and any health and safety concerns.
The campaign kicks off on the 22nd January with crowd-funding through Boosted (http://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/share-the-sculpture-park) to support impartial assessments of the park’s upkeep and of any safety issues. Crowd-funding and other social media initiatives will bring the park back into public consciousness and register support for its future use.The campaign highlights the park’s unique qualities:
- An example of rehabilitation of a former 17.5 hectare wasteland into a beautiful landscape
- An arboretum with many rare trees and shrubs nurturing biodiversity
- A covenanted forest for long-term protection of the more than 20,000 trees sequestering carbon
- A creative space uniquely suitable for sculpture, future art exhibitions, arts education and performances
- A multi-layered sensory experience
A sponsoring organization or business is more likely to show interest to cover the cost of its maintenance, long-term, if there is sufficient proof of public support. There are a number of options ranging from a sponsoring organization taking a ‘license to occupy’ to the park to a business proposition such as a conference centre. Our bottom line is that it should be open more often for public use, preferably as an arts-in-nature destination.
Currently the park is only open by appointment. It no longer has the profile of new exhibitions and many people think it is closed. Visitor numbers have dropped from a peak of 9000 visitors in 2013 down to no more than 300 annually. Even though entry charges don’t cover the cost of maintenance, charges remain a barrier to its use. Support for it to reopen as a public park would recognize its value to the community and save it for future generations.
We want this campaign to record the degree of public support; the crowd-funding part of it is only one aspect. We will run a survey at the same time. Once we can demonstrate the degree of support then we can follow through in the search for the best long-term solution.