Sculptures in the Garden has announced that famed sculptor, Stephen King, will open this year's event at Rosby Vineyard on the weekend of October 12-13.
King, a sheep and cattle farmer, is well known for his oversized carved and constructed wood sculptures and takes influence from life on the land and issues around the environment and humanity. He has won an array of prizes including Sculpture by the Sea's major gong in 2013.
His messages have spread far and wide, including to Denmark where he was invited to exhibit at Sculpture by the Sea Aarhus - an exhibition set up by Prince Frederik and Princess Mary in Denmark.
"Sculptures in the Garden is delighted to have Stephen King open this year's event," Kay Norton-Knight, founder and curator of SIG, said.
"Stephen is an incredibly well known and respected sculptor and has inspired many others to follow this creative pursuit. We feel his wealth of knowledge and passion for sculpture will be a wonderful addition to this year's event."
After last year's success with Wendy Whiteley's book talk and signing, author and photographer Annabelle Hickson will be hosting the honours on the Sunday.
Having recently published A Tree in the House, a guide for the aspiring home florist with an ode to rural interiors and buildings - a book that celebrates the art of arranging flowers for celebrating big, small and in-between events.
Annabelle will be hosting a sit-down discussion about her passion, her new book and life on the farm with books available for purchase and signing on the day.
"I am thrilled to be travelling to Mudgee for Sculptures in the Garden. The combination of art and gardens and the beautiful Mudgee landscape represents so much of what is wonderful about life in the country," she said.
"And now, in the middle of this unrelenting drought, one of the best things we can do for towns like Mudgee is to visit and, with our wallets, support the cafes, motels, shops and superb events like this."
Past events have seen Wendy Whiteley, Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, renowned sculptor Paul Selwood, and respected art scholar Edmund Capon AM OBE, open the event.
This year will see over 100 artists exhibit 250 pieces of work, with the total value of the prizes and acquisitions now totalling over $40,000. Visitors will also have an opportunity to vote for their favourite artwork with the winner to receive a $500 People's Choice Award, there's also a $300 Sculptors Society Sensory Sculpture prize, and a SIG for Kids exhibition that involves local schools and budding young artists.
Proceeds from the weekend exhibition are used to purchase public art for the Mudgee Sculpture Walk in a joint venture with Mid-Western Regional Council. Revenue collected at the gate and from catering goes to back the Mudgee Support Group of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.