Walcha Energy says it is keen to build on the town's artistic reputation

THE BIG PICTURE: The Walcha Open Air Gallery tour comes to an end at Melbourne sculptor Mike Nicholls' work created in 2001
THE BIG PICTURE: The Walcha Open Air Gallery tour comes to an end at Melbourne sculptor Mike Nicholls' work created in 2001

Members of Walcha's thriving artistic community joined Vaclav Fiala and his family on a tour of the Open Air Gallery on Wednesday as part of Walcha Energy's mission to invest in the town's future.

In 2004, Vaclav Fiala, a renowned Czech artist, came to Stephen King's Walcha property to make a sculpture for Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, an acquisitive art prize. Walcha Council and Walcha Arts Council's decision to buy it was thwarted when the sculpture won the major prize.

Mr Fiala returned the following year to make a second sculpture for Walcha and a third for entry into Sculpture by the Sea, 2005, which also won the major prize that year. Bell tower was constructed from hardwood sourced from coastal rainforest and milled in Walcha.

This week Walcha Energy, Vestas and TransGrid joined together to bring Mr Fiala and his family ( who were in Sydney for the Sculpture by Sea exhibition) back to Walcha.

They invited local art appreciators to join Mr Fiala, Stephen King and James Rogers ( two Walcha artists who are also currently exhibiting in Sculpture by the Sea) on a guided walk through Walcha's Open Air Gallery. The group then settled in at the Walcha Gallery of Art for sundowners.

it's about getting behind those things that are important to the community.

Vincent Dwyer

Energy Estate principal and Walcha Energy partner, Vincent Dwyer said the event was a reflection of the company's growing relationship with the town.

"We're trying to develop this renewable energy project which is a community initiative, the project originally came from the community, and as we start to get momentum, it's about getting behind those things that are important to the community.

"Walcha has such a fantastic reputation from an arts perspective, so we thought: 'let's get behind that'."

Both the Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas ( who are investors in Winterbourne Wind - the first stage of the Walcha energy Project) and electricity transmission giant TransGrid were sponsors of the day.

"This is about Vestas and TransGrid understanding the community, getting behind it and seeing what can be created in the future," Mr Dwyer said.

"We've also previously brought the Sculpture by the Sea team up here - including the founder, curator and installers - and they're right behind what we are trying to do. They've said they are keen to do anything they can to support the local arts committee."

Earlier in the day, the Federal Government announced that $1 billion would be handed to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) for investment in technologies that help to maintain the reliability of Australia's electricity grid.