The Forbes Art Society (FAS) with support from Evolution Mining and the Forbes and Lachlan Shire Councils have commenced a remarkable, large scale art project in the Lachlan Valley NSW. This large-scale sculpture project has huge potential to inject much needed tourism dollars into the communities of the Lachlan Valley.
With State government funding received in 2019 from the NSW Regional Growth – Tourism and Environment Fund, the project will see the installation of large scale sculptures over an area of 100 kilometres through the Lachlan Valley to create an art trail of international recognition. The project will be undertaken over the next eighteen months.
“We are so excited to see this project finally underway in our Shire,” says Forbes Shire Council Mayor, Phyllis Miller OAM. “This is an amazing opportunity for all partners involved and we are looking forward to its implementation for the growth and well-being of our shire and our region as a whole. The project has the potential to be a significant economic contributor to the Lachlan Valley and will help attract tourists to the region from far and wide.”
The Forbes Art Society’s vision for the project is to establish the Lachlan Valley as an iconic tourism destination featuring unique public art with twenty large sculptures placed along a trail extending from Forbes to Condobolin, recognised by their size and artistic merit.
“Our vision is that the trail will become an inland ‘Sculptures by the Sea’. But only permanent and sculptures much larger,” says Forbes Art Society Sculpture Committee Chair and co-creator of the trail, Dr Keith Mullette. “We are passionate about including all of the Lachlan Valley in this project and bringing people to our area as a destination and not just passing through. “We are working toward partnering with Sculptures by the Sea to enable us to promote artists and events to a wider audience. Encouraging coastal tourists to head inland and see incredible art.in a very different but equally spectacular environment.
The first sculpture to be installed is a 22 metre long, 5.5 metre tall galvanised steel Goanna named Varanus (Gugaa) crafted by northern NSW sculptor Glen Star. “Anyone who has been camping in the bush has probably seen a lace monitor,” explains Glen. “The second largest goanna, it grows up to 2 metres in length. The goanna is of special significance to the Wiradjuri people as a totemic animal, and a food source particularly during tough times.”
Glen Star, began creating his own style while working as an industry technical specialist. He handcrafts each individual piece of quality steel completely by hand and eye, to ensure the sculpture is a truly unique showpiece.
The overall project will also see improvements at Gum Swamp, where, in addition to sculptures, three new bird hides will be constructed and a fourth improved. The site – already a popular one for twitchers and ornithological fans, will see the experience for these visitors vastly improved, with board walks and walking tracks constructed. Also, part of the project is the rejuvenation of the former ambulance station into a cultural arts centre and café, hosting visiting artists and tourists alike.
“One of the most incredible aspects of this project is that it’s volunteer driven,” Mayor Miller goes on to say. “Our shire – currently dependant on agriculture needs to build resilience and a project of this magnitude will allow the community to weather the storms of droughts and floods by keeping the visitors coming.”