Rotorua sculptor Trevor Nathan believes public artwork can not only beautify an area, but also transform the way people behave.

"If you go to any major city around the world that has a body of public artwork, you will find the public respects that, and these places don't get tagged or defaced. You'll find the local people are really proud of the fact that their city is pretty and as a result you don't have these issues."

Rotorua Lakes Council community arts adviser Marc Spijkerbosch agrees.

"Public art raises community pride and provides a sense of identity and belonging.


"Although it's been said that anything in the arts will bring visitors, it's important to remember that it's also for the benefit of people who live here. Public art generates an environment that people want to be around. And so it's a win-win situation. A city with public art is a city that thinks and feels," he said.

"Supporting artists brings outcomes that brighten our immediate world and send out strong signals of a healthy, vibrant and free-thinking community. It also adds to the vibrancy of our city which adds to locals' and visitors' enjoyment of Rotorua."

Mr Nathan has been working as a sculptor for 16 years and is taking part in the Rotorua Sculpture Symposium in the city over the next week.

He gets a lot of joy from creating beautiful work that people will look after and enjoy, and no doubt this personal satisfaction is something the other sculptors share with him.

Over the next week Mr Nathan will be joined by 16 other sculptors taking part in the symposium. This year's theme is The Energy Within and the winner of the judges' award will become a permanent part of the Rotorua public art collection.

Another four pieces will be considered for selection to enhance the new boulevard in Kuirau Park. All remaining sculptures will then be installed at the Sulphur Lake Sculpture Trail.

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The symposium is the chance for the public to see artists in the throes of creating their pieces, and Mr Nathan said artists appreciated the curiosity of the visiting public.

While it is a competition, he said the artists contributed to each other's work.

"We bounce ideas off each other, we lend tools, and we share lunch. We don't hold onto ideas, the idea is to create the best possible work that we can."

What: Sculpture Symposium
Where: The Arts Village Green, Government Gardens
When: Tomorrow until November 27, 8.30am-4.30pm