20 Nov 2018
Plans are afoot to build enough moving sculptures to create a summer walk through New Plymouth in honour of Len Lye, the artist behind the city's Wind Wand. The Len Lye Foundation, the group responsible for the artist's legacy, has set up Team Zizz! to raise money to create more kinetic sculptures - pieces which depending on movement for their effect - throughout the city and refurbish other works for display.
- by Stephanie Mitchell / stuff.co.nz
Members pay $100 a month, encourage others to make modest donations throughout the year, and will be applying to the TSB Community Trust for funding for the walk, which could take 10 years to complete.
"To do all this we really need the help of the people of New Plymouth. The Len Lye Centre is responsible for bringing $7.4m into New Plymouth annually. It makes sense for New Plymouth to invest in the Len Lye Centre to keep people coming," Len Lye Foundation chair Susan Hughes said.
"We set up Team Zizz! for the purpose of trying to raise $150,000 over three years and we were able to do that within six weeks.
"Our first sculpture, Dancing Wands, is finished and will be in the gallery from early December."
Other sculptures will be reconditioned and put back in the gallery.
"What we now want to move on to is the next iteration of it all, which is developing the Len Lye walk, where we need more money."
The group planned for the walk to be seasonal, open from December to March, as they didn't want to leave the sculptures "out in the elements year round".
Hughes said the walk would take around ten years to create as outdoor sculptures are more costly.
"You'd be given a map when you went to the gallery or information centre and you'd start at the Wind Wand.
"You'd wander down to the Waving Wands, when they are replaced, and then up into Pukekura Park where we ultimately hope to have a Big Blade, a Grass in one of the lakes and a Water Whirler, and then back into town where we have plans to put a couple more sculptures on the sides of buildings."
Hughes said the mechanical sculptures would be activated at certain times of the day so walkers could catch them all.
"The biggest challenge we've got with anything outdoors is to 'd***head proof' it, which is a challenge. It's a real shame that the people of Taranaki don't understand that these things are precious."
In August the New Plymouth District Council introduced a controversial $15 entry fee to the Len Lye Centre for out-of-towners but Hughes said that wouldn't be the case for the walk.
"Part of our ambition of this walk is that it is free and not just for those that have paid at the door of the gallery. I'm confident if we can build it, it will greatly enhance New Plymouth as a summer tourism spot.