The grand opening of the annual Sculptures in the Garden near Mudgee is this weekend and will run until October 22.
The two-week event at Rosby Vineyard's garden will showcase more than 300 large-scale sculptures and garden art, crafted by 130 of Australia's leading and emerging artists.
This year's special guest is world-renowned garden designer Paul Bangay, who will officially open the exhibition, offer signings of his latest book - 'A Life In Garden Design' - and announce the exhibition's acquisition prizes.
"I think of sculpture as enhancing the work of landscape designers," Mr Bangay said.
"The correct placement of a sculpture in a garden brings life to the space.
"Its form, colour and materiality attract the eye and add interest to key places in the garden.
Mr Bangay said he used sculpture in his designs to lead the eye around a garden.
"We have become increasingly aware of the need for art in the garden and, in particular, to good Australian-created sculpture," he said.
"Some years ago we looked to Europe for our source of ornamentation in the garden.
"Now we are commissioning or acquiring the work of our many talented Australian artists.
"For me this trend has developed as we become more confident in our homegrown sense of Australian garden design."
He said the inclusion of a well placed sculpture could bring life to a garden by leading the eye to key areas of the landscape - "it should extend your view in the garden making the garden look larger than it actually is".
Sculptures in the Garden combines a large-scale outdoor sculpture exhibition, a public program of artist workshops and talks, artist tours, live music, special guests, a themed local children's exhibition, garden walks, and local food and wine.
"Each year we look forward to creating an extraordinary space where art, nature and people can come together," founder and curator Kay Norton-Knight said.
"We're thrilled to see the creative expressions of so many talented artists this year, and we can't wait for visitors to explore these inspiring works."
Sculptures in the Garden is a not-for-profit event, with proceeds going to local charity partners and the acquisition of sculptures for the Mudgee community's public arts initiative.
Ever since it started 13 years ago the event has worked closely with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in raising significant funds for the charity.
Volunteer Jenni Buckley, who lives next door to Rosby, said feedback about the event was always very positive and many visitors came back every year.
"Others happen upon it when they're driving through and say they never would have expected something so high quality in regional NSW," Mrs Buckley said.
People are always amazed by the standard.
"It's really unique. I've grown up and lived in various regional areas all of my life and there's nothing like this anywhere else.
"I think Sculptures in the Garden is a world-class standard, but it's so accessible because it's only $5 to get in!"
Mrs Buckley's husband Tim Buckley, a local farmer, uses his bobcat to unload all the sculptures when they arrive at the exhibition and reload them at the end of the event.
Tickets for Sculptures in the Garden will be available online and at the gate.
- Visit www.sculpturesinthegarden.com.au to book tickets and a full list of what's on and when.