Update June 18, 2018: Eurobodalla Shire Mayor Liz Innes has requested a meeting with chamber representatives to discuss how the event can avoid unnecessary cancellation.
The meeting will take place today, and the council will issue a further statement afterwards.
June 17, 2018: The future of this year’s Sculpture on Clyde exhibition in Batemans Bay is in doubt amid claims of a dispute between event organisers and Eurobodalla Shire Council.
In a letter sent to Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber members on June 15, a chamber executive said the 2018 event would be “cancelled” as council requirements made the exhibition “unworkable”.
A chamber spokesperson said requirements of concern included a restrictive site for the display of the artworks, the inclusion of a council representative on the sculpture judging panel and providing proof of budget.
However, event organisers said the event would be able to proceed in the form of a sculpture walk on private land after negotiation with financial donors.
“We plan to expedite the sculpture walk to mitigate disappointment from artists and the community,” the chamber said.
The chamber said the requirement to place the acquisitive award on a restrictive site would put “untenable constraints” on the artworks and “limit works submitted to the event”.
“(The requirement) is made without consideration or understanding of the sculpture walk,” a chamber spokesperson said.
The chamber alluded to a dispute between the council over the requirement of a council representative to provide advice to exhibition judges.
“Our panel includes expertise in local and international sculpture and providing council with a place on the panel will compromise its independence,” the chamber said.
The chamber said there were further concerns over providing a proof of budget to the council in response to a request for funding.
“As the event relies heavily on philanthropic donations from local members of the community, this information is commercial in confidence,” the chamber said.
This year’s event was scheduled to take place between August 24 and September 3, with $50,000 on offer for the winning sculptor.
The inaugural 2017 event attracted more than 70 artworks, which were displayed on the banks of the Clyde River in Batemans Bay and in an indoor gallery.
The chamber and Eurobodalla Shire Council have been approached for further comment.