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Not enough money to reinstall famous city artwork

Neil Dawson Echo
Neil Dawson's ECHO suspended above the Art Centre in Christchurch Supplied

The Arts Centre won't recreate Neil Dawson's public artwork Echo after a public fundraising campaign fell flat.

The sculpture, sat above the Art Centre's North Quad for 30 years and was Dawson's very first piece of public art.

Echo, was irreparably damaged in the 2011 earthquake and taken down by the Art Centre.

The Christchurch Art Centre set up a campaign to raise the $30,000 needed to recreate and reinstall the piece.

However donations have fallen significantly short, with only $4,275 raised from 42 donors.

Fundraising manager Suzanne Henson said The shortfall meant the project was now on hold

"The reinstatement of Echo won’t go ahead in the foreseeable future because the Arts Centre’s current priority is to complete restoration of all 23 of its heritage buildings "

 But she said the art centre were hopeful they could revisit the project. 

"We realise Echo is a popular sculpture that is well-loved in Christchurch" 

The art works creator, Neil Dawson, said  “ I consider it my most successful work because of it's complex simplicity and it's fresh accessibility."

Christchurch born Dawson has created several pieces around the city including the Chalice, which was installed in Cathedral Square to mark the new millennium in 2001.


Cathedral Square Chalice
Neil Dawson's Chalice in Cathedral Square. Supplied

One individual believes not having the sculpture in it's rightful place leaves a big gap in the city.

Jane Morrissey, 32 said "It would have been almost therapeutic to see Echo back, I suppose not having it there leaves a bit of emptiness at the art centre"

Another believed that all art is temporary and Christchurch needs to make room for more. 

Angus Hilliard 21, said "Echo served it's purpose, as good as it was it needs to be left in the past, we need to look to create newer and better things"

Echo is a piece that will always be remembered and whether it will once again hang above the North Quad at the art centre will remain a mystery for now.