Perth’s world-famous Sculpture by the Sea exhibition could be over for good after this week, organisers have warned.

Founding director David Handley said the biggest free public art event in WA cost $2.3 million to stage at Cottesloe beach and the small, not-for-profit organisation was unable to find the funds to continue.

Sculptures by the Sea founder David Handley. Picture: Michael Wilson

“It’s unsustainable as it is,” he said. “Without a major new source of funds, this would have to be our last show. So this could be the last week of Sculpture by the Sea.”

Mr Handley said sponsorship had shrunk dramatically and the board needed to secure more funding from government and corporate sponsors within the next three months.

Now in its 15th year, the exhibition attracts about 240,000 people. He said it was ironic the event’s popularity was threatening to kill it, because organisers had to find funding to cater for so many visitors.

“Perth has responded to Sculpture by the Sea like no other city,” Mr Handley said.

“Everyone seems to think that someone somewhere is paying for it, and that’s not happening.

“We’re hoping that this call to arms is going to result in a sponsor approaching us.”

We want the people of Perth to know that we’ve got three months to sort this out.”