Sydney’s popular Sculpture by the Sea exhibition has been postponed, with organisers concerned about proximity of attendees during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2km trail of art along Sydney’s eastern beaches and clifftops has become an annual fixture, attracting scores of thousands of people.
But on Sunday it was announced the event, scheduled to run for a month from 8 October, might not go ahead until next year.
“Due to current public health orders limiting mass outdoor gatherings, our 2020 event will not be going ahead as planned,” director David Handley said.
Potential new dates for the exhibition include later in 2020 or early 2021.
“We are continuing to work with … agencies, including NSW Health on reviewing all options for an exhibition that will ensure safe attendance,” Handley said.
More than 100 artists have collectively spent up to $1.8m freighting their sculptures to Sydney from across Australia and around the world for the event.
“So it was important to wait and see if there was any chance we could proceed with this year’s exhibition as planned,” Handley said.
“Now, like everyone, we are waiting to see what might be possible, being mindful that everyone’s health comes first.”
Sydney Water said on Saturday it had found traces of the coronavirus in raw sewage tested at the Bondi plant in the past two weeks, as well as at Malabar and Winmalee. However, the NSW chief health officer, Kerry Chant, cautioned residents not to read too much into the initial results.
“This is early days for this research, and we have a lot of work to do analysing our findings,” she said. “However, if we continue to have very few active cases, there is scope for this testing to provide early warning in places without known or recent cases.
Last year Handley threatened to move the exhibition from the Bondi to Tamarama track to another coastal location in Sydney over a dispute with Waverley council about upgrades to disabled access. However, an agreement was eventually signed to keep Sculpture by the Sea in its traditional place for at least the next five years.