Yesterday I had a email from Sculpture by the Sea stating that the organisation had not received anymore revenue from the sale of sculptures in the exhibition, since the conclusion of this years Cottesloe exhibition. As a result SSX organisers have breached the artist contract, which states that if artists who are unsuccessful at making any sale at the exhibition, will receive an artist subsidy to assist with the cost of exhibiting.
SSX was relying on receiving a grant from the Department of culture and the arts to provide this subsidy to artists. However, they were unsuccessful at receiving this grant and as a result artist have been left to bare the full cost of showing in the exhibition.
This is the sixth annual Cottesloe Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. It is a well established exhibition that should be working towards creating a financially sustainable exhibition that is not totally dependent on funding bodies to pay there exhibiting artists subsidies. SSX has become complacent with there previously successful grant applications to the Department of Culture and the arts. Generally funding bodies assist with establishing new projects and exhibitions.
For myself exhibiting at Sculpture by the Sea was a big financial risk. It took me over 400 hours to complete my sculpture, I contracted a metal fabricator who spent another 100 hours on the project and then there is over one thousand dollars in materials. The artist subsidy was a small token gesture that I was relying on to pay my material bills. It is very disappointing that Sculpture by the Sea is not able to pay this subsidy on the agreed 10 week time line following the conclusion of the exhibition.
I feel that artists will be deterred from exhibiting in future events because of the SSX organisers inability to pay the artist subsidy this year. I also think that it will begin to stifle the type of work exhibited in the exhibition, artists will tend to create commercial work that will guarantee sales, rather than edgy works which experiment with new materials or works that make a political statement.
The piece i created for this years exhibition experimented with the use of industrial waste. The piece I created used recycled plastic, not a traditional sculpting material. This experimentation in the work meant I couldn't guarantee the lifespan of a relatively expensive work to interested buyers.
It is disappointing that artists who basically make the show at Cottesloe have been left to bare the entire expense for exhibiting in the show!