David Handley from Sculpture by the Sea
David Handley started his working life as a commercial lawyer but quickly moved across into the arts, film and wine when he escaped the corporate world by moving to Prague in his mid 20’s, adopting the motto that he only wanted to do fun things which added something to the world.
In 1997 David established Sculpture by the Sea with the idea of creating a free to the public event visual arts event for Sydney held annually along the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk. The first show was put up, on and pulled down in just one-day and was run by volunteers working out of David’s lounge room with no budget – yet with a $400 marketing budget 25,000 people visited. This led to the Artistic Director of the 1998 Olympic Arts Festival, Andrea Stretton, to commission David to produce 5 Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions around Australia with Darwin (NT), Noosa (Qld), Albany (WA), Tasman Peninsula (Tas) joining the Bondi show. But the Olympic money was a one off and the early years were very hard as costs mounted with the need for full time staff and the show growing in length, size and complexity each year as the artists got more and more adventurous.
Managing (just!) the financial tight rope Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi quickly became the largest and most popular sculpture exhibition in the world. Staged annually over three weeks in late October/early November the Bondi show attracts an estimated 500,000 visitors each year to view over 100 sculptures along the 2km Bondi coastal walk (www.sculpturebythesea.com).
In 2003 Sculpture by the Sea Incorporated was established as a not for profit incorporated association listed on the National Cultural Register with tax deductible gift recipient status. This move was designed to provide a legal and financial entity suitable for the long term management of the Australian Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions.
In 2005 Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe was established as an annual exhibition on the Indian Ocean at Perth’s most popular beach. Staged over three weeks in March the exhibition attracts over 140,000 people and is now one of Perth’s major annual events.
The first international edition of Sculpture by the Sea was held in June 2009 in the City of Aarhus in Denmark. The Aarhus exhibition featured 60 sculptures by artists from across the world including 26 from Australia making it the largest international exhibition of Australian sculpture to date – and the Danes loved it with an estimated 600,000 visitors over 4 weeks.
This year in Sydney, Sculpture By The Sea commences on 29 October through until 15 November with over 100 artists being represented.