• The 2009 Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award has been canned due to a perceived lack of worthy entrants. Instead of the open entry system of the past eight events, the organisers had sought nominations of five artists each from eight well known curators, but of the 40 artists only 28 actually submitted and out of these the three judges – John Denton, Melbourne architect, Alexie Glass, director of Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces and Zara Stanhope, freelance curator – could not find 15 maquettes which were promising enough to invest the upfront fee of $5000 each for full scale fabrication. Held in the grand environs of Werribee Park, the Award demands large work, which can easily cost four times the subsidy, so each artist is gambling on hitting the $100,000 jackpot, plus the useful publicity. Several of the curators were surprised at the outcome and would presumably not be part of such a process again. But perhaps the nominees were older and more experienced than the open entry punters of earlier prizes, and more cautious about committing their hard earned cash to the luck of the draw. A few bruised egos will no doubt not stop the determination of the organizers, who are reportely working on making it up to sculptors with a new kind of event in the park in the autumn of 2009.

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