Sculptures in the Garden came together today at Rosby Vineyard, as artists from near and far installed their pieces for this weekend's exhibition (October 12-13).
This year's event will be officially opened by famed sculptor Stephen King, who's exhibited 18 times at Sculpture by the Sea and is glad to finally attend SIG.
"It's an extreme honour [to open the exhibition], this is my first time, I've heard of it from the initial days but it's the first chance I've had to turn up. It's outstanding, interesting, varied, and lots of different approaches - and well worth a view," he said on Friday, having cast an eye over the set-up.
Being from a regional area himself, he said that having such an event is important when it comes to sharing art with the wider community. And that when building a public collection - such as the local Lawson Park Sculpture Walk - making it thought-provoking is as good as making it liked.
"Mudgee is a big town for me - coming from Walcha where there's 1,500 of us, but we've got 50 public sculptures around town," he said.
"Having art within the community, especially with small towns, can be difficult to take the town along with you. But now our Arts Council wait until there's pressure from the community to install something new, the community has taken over.
"Loving or hating are all good emotions, and people end up wondering 'why don't I like something?' Although I always found that it's good to put in a couple of sculptures at a time, so they can at least like one of them."
Another first-time exhibitor at SIG, although without the same number of years behind him, is new artist from Victoria Chris Anderson.
"I was looking for some competitions to enter, I'm fairly new to the world of sculpting, and found it," he said.
"I certainly liked the philosophy of it being a fundraiser for Guide Dogs [revenue at the gate and catering goes to the Mudgee Support Group]. And it's beautiful here, I live on a very similar property so it actually feels like home.
"It's good for me as a new sculptor to be part of something like this, alongside people who've been doing it their whole career."
As well as the sculptures - and after last year's success with Wendy Whiteley - the book talk and signing is back. Annabelle Hickson, author of the recently published A Tree in the House, will be hosting the honours on Sunday at 11am.
- Gates are open 9am-4pm (rain, hail or shine) and artist sculpture walks will be held 11.30am and 2.30pm Saturday, and 10am and 1pm Sunday. More information at sculpturesinthegarden.com.au/