ACT News


Thousands enjoy family fun day at sculpture garden at National Gallery of Australia

Danielle Marshall was among the thousands of people who enjoyed free activities including painting and story telling, at the National Gallery of Australia's sculpture garden on Sunday.

Danielle, 8, said she also had fun rolling strands of coloured wool into tiny blankets and making butterflies out of paper.

Her father, Scott Marshall, holding three-year-old Angella, said it was a great outing for the family.

The creative workshops and performances in the beautiful garden setting were inspired by the Tom Roberts exhibition.

So, keeping with that theme, Geoff the Swagman, aka Rick Tunks of Ngunnawal, stole a jumbuck from the petting zoo, where children were seeing some of the most famous depictions in Roberts' paintings.

By the marsh pond gallery, Ngunnawal Indigenous artists from Thunderstone were telling the story of Dyirri the Frog while nearby, conservators took aspiring bug busters on a hunt for creepy crawlies.


Program manager Katie Russell said the event, now in its 11th year, drew up to 3000 people to the sculpture garden.

"The gallery is very committed to sculpture garden Sunday because it's such a great vehicle for all we have to offer for children and families," she said.

"It's about introducing the gallery in a very friendly and community atmosphere and then people go inside and see all of the other things we do throughout the year for children, so the Tom Roberts exhibition has its own family activities room where children can respond to the art they see on the walls."

One of the attractions of the event was the beautiful setting, Ms Russell said.

"The sculpture garden is unique in Canberra, it's a glorious amphitheatre which is perfect for the performing aspect and there's also plenty of big trees.

"Every activity is linked in some way to the gallery and its collections and it's about art-making and being creative and it's all free."

Sculpture garden Sunday is made possible with the support of Tim Fairfax in honour of former gallery director Betty Churcher.