Danger Dave, Christian Rager & Damien Hirst, Looking For Sharks, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2018. Photo by David Dare Parker
Perth's 15th Sculpture by the Sea exhibition will be staged at Cottesloe Beach from 1-18 March 2019.
The original Sculpture by the Sea, held each spring at Sydney's Bondi Beach, has turned into the largest free sculpture exhibition in the world, welcoming half a million visitors each year over three weeks. This massive success led to a partner event being established on the west coast.
Cottesloe's Sculpture by the Sea is now one of the largest free public events in Perth with a quarter of a million visitors flocking to the iconic beachside suburb. In 2018, 73 artists from 18 countries created incredible artworks, spread along the beach and grassy banks of the foreshore for 18 days.
By bringing extraordinary artworks to a beautiful community space, Sculpture by the Sea invites us all to engage with the art at any level we choose. Children thoroughly enjoy exploring the sculptures; the materials used and the messages communicated are often down to earth and easily understood; and many of the more ethereal works interact with the light in mesmerising ways.
The People's Choice
Pick up an exhibition catalogue when you arrive at Sculpture by the Sea on Cottesloe's Marine Parade. This will guide you around the artworks and give you a few words to help explain the artist's intention for each one.
Everyone will have their opinions on each piece and a top favourite. Make sure your voice is heard and vote in the People's Choice Prize competition. The most popular artwork will win the sculptor a whopping $5,000. There's a Kids' Choice Prize too, so get the whole family running around to choose the one they love the best!
Ask for voting slips when you collect your catalogue.
A fascinating addition to Sculpture by the Sea is the Sculpture Inside indoor exhibition of smaller works by the same artists plus a selection of invited contributors.
Some of the artworks are miniature interpretations of the larger works along the beach, while others are completely different. This is an excellent opportunity for art collectors to purchase works from a range of talented artists from around the globe.
Sculpture Inside is open from 9.00am on every day of Perth's Sculpture by the Sea, except for the final Monday, 18 March. It closes at 6.00pm Monday to Friday and 7.00pm on weekends. You'll find the exhibition marquee on the corner of Marine Parade and Forrest Street.
The Story of Sculpture by the Sea
The Sculpture by the Sea website has the full history of the event. This shorter version gives you an idea of the determination, inspiration and community support that has gone into creating it.
Sculpture by the Sea was founded by David Handley in 1997, a lawyer who decided to escape the corporate world. Inspired by a sculpture park in Bohemia, and events like Opera in the Park and Symphony under the Stars, he had a vision for creating a space where everyone could enjoy being surrounded by sculptured artworks.
The Bondi to Tamarama walk on the Sydney coastline proved ideal for the first Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. Starting from scratch and managing the whole event from his home, David gathered a fantastic team of volunteers, who helped him to attract funding and engage more than 100 artists in the 1997 event.
It took just 10 weeks to get Bondi's first Sculpture by the Sea off the ground on a budget of $11,000, most of which went to the artists in prize money. It was an extraordinary success, attracting 25,000 visitors and lots of media coverage. Since then, the Bondi exhibition has gone from strength to strength, now seeing half a million visitors each year.
On the back of this success, Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe, launched in 2005 - a location that David recognised as very special, praising "its sunsets, long horizon and the gorgeous pocket of beach near Indiana Tea House". Volunteers still play a huge role in this wonderful community event, which has fantastic support from the Town of Cottesloe.
Getting to Cottesloe
During the 18 days of Cottesloe's Sculpture by the Sea, parking is tricky. While there is plenty of street parking and some carparks along Marine Parade, you might find that you have to park quite a distance away and walk down to the shore. Do watch for time zone signage because rangers are everywhere during a major event.
Sculpture by the Sea has drop-off and pick-up zones set up for the event. The picnic drop-off zone will be active every day, from 5.00-7.30pm, except Sundays, situated opposite the catalogue marquee on Marine Parade.
Visitors with limited mobility can be dropped off at a designated zone between Indiana and Cottesloe Surf Life Saving Club on the ocean side of Marine Parade. This may be busy on weekends, so try to organise your trip for a week day if possible.
Throughout Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe's free shuttle bus, the Cott Cat, will be running from the train station to the beach between 10.30am and 5.00pm. Either catch the train or park at Cottesloe train station and hop onto the Cott Cat, which is timed to coincide with every train arrival and returns to the station from the oceanfront every 15 minutes.
In partnership with DADAA, Sculpture by the Sea offers free one-hour Tactile Tours for visitors who are blind or vision impaired. Sculptures in accessible areas have been selected for this guided experience, which enables participants to enjoy them through touch with verbal descriptions. Check the website for times and be sure to book ahead.
A large print exhibition catalogue is available on request from the catalogue marquee. There are also Auslan interpreted events for the hearing impaired, including the People's Choice Awards on 17 March.
On 13 and 14 March, matting will be in place for people with wheelchairs and limited mobility, supported by staff if required, and a beach wheelchair can be booked on request.
Cafes & Restaurants
Cottesloe has a string of excellent cafes and restaurants along Marine Parade, some offering uninterrupted ocean views. During Sculpture by the Sea, all of Perth will be wanting to eat and drink, so consider booking your table.
The iconic Indiana Cottesloe Beach (formerly Indiana Tea House) is an ideal venue for indulging in a delicious shared plate of charcuterie and seafood, right on the beach overlooking the sculpture exhibition. More filling options include wood fired pizzas and meat or fish dishes, all complemented by WA wines, mouth-watering cocktails and draught beers. Breakfast is served on weekends, and casual beach gear is OK up to 5.30pm.
Also on the oceanfront, towards the northern end of the Marine Parade strip, are the Blue Duck and Barchetta. Sitting side by side on the edge of the sand, these are both great choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Barchetta is closer to a casual cafe style eatery and slightly cheaper than the Blue Duck, which has a larger menu of Mediterranean style cuisine, including a selection of wood fired pizzas.
Il Lido on the corner of Forrest Street, right in the heart of Sculpture by the Sea activity, receives rave reviews and is a fabulous, casual Italian canteen, perfect for great coffee and brekkie, or tasty Italian fare with a glass of wine.
All year round, and especially during Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe's two hotels are very popular choices for meals and drinks.
The Ocean Beach Hotel, known locally as the OBH, has large open windows and deck at the front overlooking the ocean and inviting the beautiful sea breeze. Their CBlu Restaurant has a great choice of popular dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or opt for the bar menu and beer garden.
Further south, the Cottesloe Beach Hotel has a refreshing al fresco area at the back housing the Beach Club bar and dining area, plus the Cott & Co fish bar inside. Either is ideal for a lazy lunch or casual dinner. The Verandah Bar is a lovely airy place to relax over a drink with ocean views.
Where to Stay
Both the OBH and Cottesloe Beach Hotel have accommodation, making them absolutely ideal choices for a short stay in Perth during Sculpture by the Sea.
Ocean Beach Hotel has beautiful 4 star hotel rooms and a backpackers' hostel. Opt for an ocean view room in the hotel if you can, to optimise your Cottesloe holiday experience. Cottesloe Beach Hotel has a range of gorgeous rooms, some with spacious balconies overlooking the beach.
Executive Escapes is a great place to search for stunning apartments, villas and beach houses, with a wide choice along the Cottesloe coast. You'll find their properties in Scarborough too, a great alternative just 15 minutes away. This location is outside the busy-ness of Cottesloe during Sculpture by the Sea, but you still have that lovely beachside holiday feel.
Other great Scarborough options include self-contained accommodation at Ramada VetroBlu, Dunes Scarborough Beach or the, closer to the beach, Seashells Scarborough. The iconic Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough is the place for luxurious hotel rooms with onsite bars and restaurants. From here, step straight onto the promenade and explore the new oceanfront development, complete with outdoor beach pool, cafes, restaurants and bars.