In 1982 a group of determined, creative and dedicated people under the inspiration and leadership of Henry Lang, then Secretary of the Treasury, and Dr Ian Prior established the Wellington Sculpture Trust to enrich Wellington through public sculpture.
Their first project, involving gaining permission for the site, fundraising, commissioning and finally installing Tanya Ashken’s work Albatross in 1986 on Wellington’s waterfront.
In the 32 years of its existence the Trust has brought to the city works that have advanced sculpture as an art form in this country and challenged and enriched the people of Wellington.
The Trust through its voluntary work, the support of many Wellingtonians and the Wellington City Council has placed 27 sculptures around the city and in the Botanic Gardens.
The focus is on permanent public sculptures, however in 2008 the Trust installed its first temporary installation on the four massive bollards that sit between Te Papa and Circa Theatre. The aim being to showcase New Zealand sculptural practice with a biennial temporary sculpture: The 4 Plinths Sculpture Project.
The project forms part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival’s visual arts programme.
The Trust was the first of its kind in New Zealand and has become a model for other similar organisations now established around New Zealand. Through the experience gained in the commissioning of sculptures, and the overseeing of their installation, it is now called upon in an advisory capacity for many projects other than its own.