$50k gets Masterton art going

By Staff Reporter editorial@age.co.nz -
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Sculptor Neil Dawson's computer-generated image of what his Ascension sculpture would look like. PHOTO/FILE
Sculptor Neil Dawson's computer-generated image of what his Ascension sculpture would look like. PHOTO/FILE

The Ascension sculpture proposed for Masterton's northern roundabout has received another financial boost.

Lands Trust Masterton has donated $50,000 towards the sculpture, to be created by artist Neil Dawson for the Aratoi Foundation.

This adds to the donation from Trust House of $150,000. The total cost of the sculpture is $286,000.

Lands Trust grants committee chair Christine Brewster said the grant, the first from the trust's public artwork fund that is built up annually, would allow the project to go ahead.

The work has been commissioned by the Aratoi Foundation whose project to install a sculpture in each of the region's five towns began in 2012 with the Featherston work Windgrass on SH2.

Sculptor Neil Dawson has a strong Masterton connection having attended Masterton Primary School and as a founding student at Masterton Intermediate. A fulltime professional artist, he has worked for local and national governments in Australia, the United Kingdom and Asia for more than 30 years.

Aratoi Foundation chairman Bob Francis said while the foundation still had some final fundraising to do, the Lands Trust grant meant that Mr Dawson could now be commissioned to begin work.

"This is a major milestone and we're delighted with the support for what will be an iconic sculpture that the whole community can share and be proud of. It will attract national attention and become a much photographed and loved piece of art."

Mr Francis said the commanding roundabout site at the northern entrance to Masterton was one of the best he had seen in New Zealand and the sculpture would be a dramatic sight for locals and visitors and will enhance the already visually pleasing northern end of the town."

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