Nillumbik Shire Council has been forced to postpone the launch of its Digital Agora arts event in Hurstbridge this weekend after the theft of projection equipment overnight on Thursday.
The equipment was set up in the grounds of Allwood House in Main Rd, Hurstbridge, ready for Friday night’s much-anticipated launch. The event was to continue on Saturday and Sunday.
It is believed the equipment was stolen sometime between 11pm Thursday and 7am Friday. Police are investigating.
Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said she was devastated to have to postpone the Hurstbridge launch and said Council would keep residents informed about when it would be rescheduled.
The events in Eltham, Diamond Creek and St Andrews will go ahead as planned.
Cr Egan urged anyone who saw anything suspicious to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Digital Agora features light-based contemporary artworks in four townships across four weekends.
It is designed to be a collective experience with each weekend featuring a different township, and different artists and artworks unique to that place.
Across the program 16 artists explore themes related to our natural environment, personal experiences and local history to create site-specific, light-based contemporary artworks in a public space.
Bianca Bowman, CEO of event partner Centre for Projection Art, said she was shocked by the theft.
“For an event that is giving so much back to the community, it is upsetting something like this has occurred,” she said.
“All the artists, council staff and volunteers involved in getting this set up are going to be so terribly disappointed.
“It’s an awful thing to happen to something that’s meant to be a happy festive event.”
Ms Bowman said the event was about making people see familiar spaces in different ways.
“It’s about bringing contemporary art into a public space in a way people can interact with it and be invigorated,” she said.
The Digital Agora events will still go ahead 7pm-10pm in Eltham from Friday, September 6 to Sunday, September 8; Diamond Creek on Friday, September 13 and Saturday, September 14; and St Andrews from Friday, September 20 to Sunday, September 22.