Two large stone sculptures by local artists will soon grace the entranceway to Kopua Domain Holiday Park, sending a “big statement” of support for public artworks in the community.
Leading sculptors Tai Meuli and Richard Page won their $18,000 commissions from the five finalists selected after Raglan Kopua Holiday Park management board recently called for expressions of interest.
So good were the final designs, says board chairman Colin Chung, that both artists rather than only one were chosen as winners and an extra $18,000 was found to fund the works.
Both pieces are unusual, he adds, and will stand a “breathtaking” three to four metres high, making a big statement at the park. The board hopes to have the sculptures installed and publicly celebrated by mid January when the town is buzzing.
The artworks are specifically for beautification of the area, Colin points out, and are representative of our bicultural community. He’d like to see the work in progress documented on film from start to finish, honouring the artists and the significance of the project.
And he hopes to organise a couple of open days, possibly in December, where people can visit the artists’ workshops to see the sculptures taking shape.
Also involved in the selection process from the beginning was Raglan Community Arts Council and it had to make some very hard decisions, admits artist and committee member Wanda Barker.
Nine “brilliant” proposals were first selected from the 20-odd expressions of interest by professional Whaingaroa artists, she says. That figure was further whittled down to five proposals — including designs from Chris Meek, Susan Flight and Simon Te Whero — which were “exceptionally good”.
But when it came to the crunch it was up to Kopua management board to finally decide which designs best met the criteria for a large artwork on public land with its specific engineering requirements.
Board member and campground manager Rob Clark believes the sculptures will be an asset to the park and liked the winning entries equally.
“But I had to give up some wages,” he quipped of the extra funding that had to be found.
Meantime Raglan’s $35,000 BMX track now under construction between the domain’s soccer fields and the beach — a project also financed by the holiday park management board — has seen bikers already trialling the first two jumps and the turn.
But there’s plenty more work to do, says Bike 2 Bay’s Dirk De Ruysscher who first suggested the facility be built to complement the adjoining skatepark. While the dirt’s in place and now compacted, the track still needs to be shaped and a layer of crushed lime added to keep it all in place, he says.
Raglan Earthmovers is doing the job which was held up because it’s “weather-dependant” work, adds Dirk — pointing to Matamata’s doomed BMX track a year after shoddy construction — but given good, dry weather the project could well be finished within a couple of weeks.