Monday, November 07, 2016

Why can’t Wellington City Council get it up?

What’s going on in Wellington?  A year ago Neil Dawson’s suspended sculpture Ferns was taken down for repair after almost 20 years hanging above Civic Square. It now needs to be replaced at a cost of $210,000. Not a surprising outcome given Wellington’s infamously challenging environment for outdoor sculpture. Ferns was basically a gift to the city via the Wellington Sculpture Trust and a wide range of other sponsors.  The Council’s job was to to keep it in the air. 

So having relentlessly used Ferns as a City Icon and PR tool since day one why is the City Council sitting back as a $55,000 begging bowl approach via Boosted is deployed to help with the replacement? The public, the corps and the philanthropists did the fund raising the first time. This time it’s the Council’s turn. They are the ones who have converted this artwork into a symbol for the city and blatantly used it as a city logo. Had they asked an ad agency to come up with a campaign to do a similar job $210,000 would be getting off cheap (Te Papa’s thumbprint cost around that 20 years ago). Budget line? Marketing.