The Arts Centre of Christchurch

Reinstate Neil Dawson’s ECHO

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Neil Dawson's very first piece of public art was the inspiring ECHO, installed in the Arts Centre's North Quad in 1981. Irreparably damaged in the 2011 earthquake, the sculpture was removed.

Fast forward to 2017. The Arts Centre is coming back to life, with activity and visitors ramping up, and a burning question for many is: when is ECHO returning?

Soon, is the answer, if we're able to raise $30,000 through this Boosted campaign, fully funding the recreation and installation of this iconic Christchurch artwork.

ECHO was a "three-dimensional drawing of a stylised Arts Centre building in orthogonal perspective, it was rendered in carbon fibre and fine stainless-steel wire, and suspended against the big Canterbury sky instead of the white negative space of a piece of paper" (Andrew Paul Woods, Fanfare magazine).

Neil Dawson is keen to recreate this sculpture and return it to its rightful place, suspended five metres above the ground and framed by the newly restored Gothic Revival buildings of the Arts Centre. The form of the sculpture truly echoes its heritage surroundings.

"For me, ECHO represents the very beginning of a large body of public artworks I have made whose form is derived from the visual, physical and historical character of a particular site and location. I also consider it my most successful work because of it's complex simplicity and its fresh accessibility" Neil says.

There is a brass plaque on the north face of the North Quad that acknowledges "On loan from the Ross John Clark Memorial Art Collection, 1991".

Neil Dawson's solo exhibition is being hosted at The Central Art Gallery, at the Arts Centre's Library building from 20 July to 20 August, 2017. 


  • Thank you for supporting the Echo project


    Thank you so much for your recent support for the Echo reinstatement project. We do appreciate your interest in this project and your wonderful generosity.

    Unfortunately, although there was a lot of interest and "likes", we didn’t quite reach our campaign goal, and so all donations are being returned over the next few days.

    This means 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.

    We realise Echo is a popular sculpture that is well-loved in Christchurch, and so there may be an opportunity to revisit its reinstatement sometime in the future.

    Many thanks to several of our Echo donors who have kindly re-gifted their refunded donations back to the Arts Centre to help fund our huge heritage restoration project!

    Keep track of our restoration progress at