Twenty years on and Sculpture by the Sea continues to push the boundaries of public art and its engagement with the public, drawing a diverse audience...

From Studio to Clifftop: Insights Into the Artists and Process Behind Sculpture by the Sea


Museum of Contemporary Art
2000 NSW

From Studio to Clifftop: Insights Into the Artists and Process Behind Sculpture by the Sea


Lucy Humphrey, Artist

Lucy Humphrey


Hear from multi-disciplinary artist Lucy Humphrey about her practice and experiences exhibiting in one of Australia's largest public art events as she joins the panel for 'From Studio to Clifftop: insights into the artists and process behind Sculpture by the Sea'.

As an emerging designer working across the fields of art and architecture, Humphrey has recently been recognised with the University of Sydney’s Young Alumni Award for Achievement (2012), the Helen Lempriere Scholarship as emerging sculptor (2013) through Sculpture by the Sea, the QANTAS Spirit of Youth Awards Runner Up (2013), and is currently shortlisted for the 2016 Dulux Study Tour and the Lost at E Minor Young Creative Australians Award (2016).

Alongside her creative work, writing and teaching, Humphrey has been an invited speaker at leading events and institutions including the ARUP Design School, the Australian Institute of Architects (Tusculum NSW), Pecha Kucha for Sydney Art Month, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology and the 2015 AIA Australasian Student Congress.

Humphrey’s work reflects a dedicated interest in sculpture and site specific installation, and seeks to create a heightened sense of awareness and appreciation for the natural world. Through her sculptural installations, Humphrey pursues an interest in environmental art with a focus on materiality, sustainability and the creation of ephemeral works that are highly responsive to space and place.

Her installations explore bold conceptual ideas, unusual material applications and new fabrication technologies. These sculptural explorations pursue a passionate interest in the potential to celebrate nature, by incorporating kinetic or dynamic elements that respond to the surrounding environment. In this way Humphrey seeks to create intimate and highly site specific responses to the particular qualities of a chosen site, with a conceptual anchor.

In combining architectural training with art practice, her work seeks to create moving, physical and highly engaging experiences for audiences, with artworks that are deeply connected to their place.

Dale Miles, Artist

Dale Miles


Listen to Dale Miles share his approach to sculpture and the public space as he joins the panel for 'From Studio to Clifftop: insights into the artists and process behind Sculpture by the Sea'.

Dale Miles is a Sydney based artist whose work encompasses a diverse range of approaches to sculpture. He graduated from the National Art School in Sydney in 2006 with Honours and has studied Ancient and Renaissance Art in Italy and France. He is also an Art Educator who has lectured on Painting and Sculpture at the Art Gallery of NSW, the National Art School and is currently employed at Sydney Grammar School.

His work for the last seven years, has focused on exploring new ways to expand on the lineage of relief and pictorial sculpture. He is particularly interested in creating forms that contain both sculptural and relief language set in a space that allows the viewer to move behind the visual illusion and perceive the works mechanics and function on the eye.

Margarita Sampson, Artist

Margarita Sampson


Listen to artist Margarita Sampson talk about exhibiting at the very first Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi and what it has taken to exhibit a further nine times as she joins the panel for 'From Studio to Clifftop: insights into the artists and process behind Sculpture by the Sea'.

Born in Nowra, NSW, Margarita Sampson grew up on Norfolk Island, attending boarding school and then COFA in Sydney, where she received a BA & M.Art in painting. She began sculptural work in response to the first Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi in 1997, where her work received the People’s Choice Prize the following year.

Following a shipping accident in 2001 where most of her work & documentation were lost, Sampson returned to Norfolk Island & opened a bookstore. During this time she exhibited a solo exhibition of woven works at Craft Victoria in 2006, curated several shows of island weaving (subsequently purchased by QAGOMA for their collection) and was a guest artist for Sculpture by the Sea 2006.

Sampson also represented Norfolk Island at 3 Pacific Arts Festivals held in New Caledonia 2000, Palau 2004 & Samoa 2008. In 2010 she was awarded at Churchill Fellowship for investigations into contemporary jewellery, where she undertook internships with European contemporary jewellers. Following her return to Sydney in 2011, works have been included in the Waterhouse Art Prize (winner, object section) 2012, Gold Coast Art Prize 2012, Willoughby Sculpture Prize 2013, Wynne Prize 2013, Fisher’s Ghost Art Prize 2015 , The Blake Prize for Religious Art 2016 & Sculpture by the Sea in 2011, 2012, 2014 & 2015, winning the Andrea Stretton Memorial award in 2011. 2015 marked her 10th year exhibiting with Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi

Her solo show ‘Infectious Desires’ held at Stanley St Gallery in 2015 & touring to Tamworth Regional Gallery later in the year received international press coverage from as far afield as Russia, Taiwan, the USA, Britain & South America.  Her work is held in private & public collections including those of UNSW, Tjibaou Centre in New Caledonia, Royal Blind Society Sydney & Tamworth Regional Gallery.





David Handley AM, Founding Director, Sculpture by the Sea

David Handley AM

Founding Director, Sculpture by the Sea

Hear from Founding Director, David Handley, about the evloution of Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi as he joins the panel for 'From Studio to Clifftop: insights into the artists and process behind Sculpture by the Sea'.

At the age of 31 David founded  Sculpture by the Sea in 1997 as a one day exhibition staffed by volunteers working from his lounge room.  Within three years the exhibition  had grown to be the largest annual sculpture exhibition in the world featuring 100 sculptures by artists from around the world whose works transform the spectacular 2km Bondi beach coastal walk into a sculpture park that is now viewed by an estimated 500,000 visitors over 18 days in spring each year. 

In 1998 David was commissioned to produce a series of five Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions around Australia for the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival ‘A Sea Change’. Since this time David and his team have produced a number of major outdoor exhibitions, notably Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe in Perth on the West Australian coast that has been held annually since 2005, growing to attract 220,000 visitors to view 70 sculptures by artists from across the world. 

A substantial community benefit that has grown out of Sculpture by the Sea in Sydney and Perth are the public sculpture collections of works acquired from the free to the public exhibitions. Prime locations that are now home to permanent sculptures include in NSW: the Royal Botanic Gardens; Georges Heights; Campbelltown City Gallery; and Orange Regional Gallery.  Public collections in WA include: The Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Town of Cottesloe.

In 2009 the first international edition of Sculpture by the Sea was staged in the City of Aarhus, Denmark under the patronage of TRH Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.  The Denmark exhibition was also staged in 2011, 2013 and 2015.  An estimated 500,000 visitors visited the Aarhus exhibition in 2015.

In 2003 David oversaw the establishment of Sculpture by the Sea Incorporated as a not for profit entity to manage the Australian Sculpture by the Sea exhibitions. 

He has served on a number of boards including as a Trustee of the Australian Museum (2002 – 2010) and the USA based International Sculpture Centre (2008 - 2011).  

In addition to Sculpture by the Sea, David’s other not-for-profit project is the ‘Shane Gould Swimming Project’ in Fiji, where together with Shane Gould and her husband Milt Nelms, they have initiated a community drowning prevention program to help overcome the high rate of accidental drowning in Fiji.

Dr Michael Hill, Curatorial Panel

Dr Michael Hill

Head of Art History & Theory, National Art School, Sydney

Hear from Dr Michael Hill as he shares his insights into the curatorial process behind Sculpture by the Sea when he joins the panel for 'From Studio to Clifftop: insights into the artists and process of Sculpture by the Sea'.

Michael has been involved with Sculpture by the Sea since 2009 and is a greatly valued curator and advisor to the Bondi and Cottesloe exhibitions. Michael lectures on modernist, contemporary, and Australian art, as well as other specialist areas such as classical architecture, sculpture and 17th century painting. His research interests include Baroque art, portraiture, and art historical methodology. 

Event Details

Twenty years on and Sculpture by the Sea continues to push the boundaries of public art and its engagement with the public, drawing a diverse audience from across Australia.

Committed to offering a platform for up-and-coming and established artists, the exhibition has helped to inspire, shape and champion sculpture as an art form in Australia, not to mention put a lot of smiles on people’s faces. 

But what's involved in making this large scale public exhibition happen? 
From the artist studio to the clifftop – what are the key steps?
How do you curate an exhibition in such an exposed environment?
How do you raise the funds to balance the books for a free-to-the public event?

Hear from contributing artists,  two of which have been recipients of the prestigious Helen Lempriere Scholarships, as they discuss their practice and share their favourite and influential sculptures by other artists from the past two decades. Gain insights from contributing curators and producers into what it takes to create and sustain one of the world’s largest public art exhibitions.

Who is this for?
Artists, producers, curators, arts enthusiasts and arts administrators interested in working on outdoor public exhibitions or events, or for those who just love Sculpture by the Sea – come and find out how and why the exhibition will be around for another twenty years.

Lucy Humphrey and Dale Miles – previously exhibited artists and Helen Lempriere Scholarship Recipients
Margarita Sampson – exhibited ten times since Sculpture by the Sea's inception
David Handley AM - Founding Director
Dr Michael Hill - Curatorial Panel member and Head of Art History & Theory, National Art School, Sydney

This event is presented by Sculpture by the Sea.

Image credit: Norton Flavel, Dust, Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2015. Photo: J Wyld


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