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Uplifting experience with Skywhales to take flight

Wednesday 1 April 2020
At AlburyCity, we pride ourselves on delivering valuable, diverse and creative services and programs to our community – which is why our latest offering of a nationally significant artistic creation at a venue usually known best for sport is especially exciting.

In a great recognition of our city’s artistic and cultural depth, we’re honoured that Albury has been chosen as the starting point of a national tour of the Skywhales balloon display and that our community will be able see this amazing exhibition from the newly-redeveloped Lavington Sports Ground.

The creation of artist Patricia Piccinini, Skywhales: Every Heart Sings celebrates Skywhale, Skywhalepapa and their nine babies – high-flying balloon sculptures that are described as a once-in-a-childhood experience for those who see them.

The balloons will be inflated early on the morning of Saturday 17 April (inflation will be postponed to the following Sunday if weather conditions are not suitable) and will launch at sunrise, providing a spectacular dawn experience for visitors to the sports ground.

The Skywhales – described by their creator as ‘a project that talks about nature, family, evolution, care and wonder’ – are beginning an Australia-wide tour as a National Gallery of Australia Touring exhibition.

Tickets are essential so local people who want to be among the first in Australia to see this amazing event are encouraged to book their place via Humanatix.

More than 1000 people have booked so far, so if you’re keen to enjoy this remarkable free exhibition, please book online soon.

A nationally acclaimed exhibition, the launch of the Skywhales in Albury is testament to the artistic credentials of Albury and a great way to promote the cultural attractions of our city to a dedicated audience that is already generating valuable income for our community.

Our community’s passion for culture and the arts can be seen by the enthusiastic response to the Albury Wodonga Upstream festival, and the worth of the sector to our region is demonstrated by visitation numbers to Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA).

Over the long term, MAMA’s visitor numbers have been growing at about 5 per cent per year. In 2019, MAMA welcomed 95,000 visitors and was expecting to attract 100,000 people in 2020.

Unfortunately, that forecast took a hit from COVID-19 in 2020 but visitation is showing signs of recovery, showing an underlying strength in the sector and demonstrating why Albury is the perfect place to begin the national Skywhales tour.

It’s very pleasing to host the event at the Lavington Sports Ground, proving that the venue is more than just one of regional Australia’s sporting centres, but also an outstanding events facility with the ability to transition from football matches to flying artworks.

And while we’re now continuing our focus on attracting significant carnivals, tournament and matches to Lavington Sports Ground, we’re also using the Skywhales experience to think outside of the norms – showing once again that we’re an adaptive, agile and creative community.

Please do enjoy the Skywhales and take a moment to reflect on the strengths of a community that can embrace such diverse and uplifting activities. Thank you to everyone, regardless of their individual passions, for ensuring that our community is a leader both on the sporting field and in the arts world.