Thursday, September 25, 2003


Greetings from the Wellington Arts Centre...

The Wellington City Council’s Arts Centre, located on the ground floor of the Oriental Bay rotunda, receives regular information about creative projects, mural commissions, community art efforts, and other unique opportunities for local artists to investigate.

Arts Co-ordinator Eric Holowacz consults with many of the people driving these projects, and is available to advise artists and creative people on areas such as project planning, grants and funding, marketing and audience development, and partnership building.

Below are a few recent opportunities happening in Wellington. Interested artists should contact the person listed to learn more – or simply get in touch with Eric Holowacz on 385-1929 or Thank you for making Wellington a creative and interesting place.

Oriental Bay Seascape Mural

This is a major commission involving the curved retaining wall along Oriental Parade, between the new beach and Freyberg Pool. I have built a partnership with the Department of Conservation, who are helping guide this mural and the commissioning of local artists. I will issue a more complete Request for Design Proposals (with site photos, timeline, etc) in the next few days, but you may contact me immediately if interested. Phase 1 involves an artist painting an undersea scene/backdrop along the entire surface of the wall, about 75m long and from .5m to about 1.6m high); fee range is between $1500-2000, and formal proposals and mock-ups will be accepted over the next 3 weeks. This will be followed by a second phase, engaging several artists to paint depictions of local marine critters, fishes, and plant life onto plywood, which will then be bolted in place along the seascape mural; fee range will be up to $500 per artist, based on 4-8 plywood designs. Materials will be supplied for all phases. This bolt-on methodology will allow for future changes and additions to the mural, and will ensure an ongoing opportunity for artists to contribute. All phases will be done in consultation with the biologists and educators at DOC, so there's a nice integration of art and science. The project will be completed/introduced in June/July, as a prelude to DOC's Conservation Week (August 2004), and should become a high-profile addition to the new beach and urban landscape. Deadline for proposals is Friday, 16 April; production dates are 23 April to 30 May; site visits and consultation are welcome at any time. CONTACT: Eric Holowacz on 385-1929 or

Hataitai Playcentre Coastal Mural

Karen Serjeantson, a parent and co-ordinator at Hataitai Playcentre, is developing a mural project for a wall/fence area there. The surface is approximately 10m by 1.5m, and the mural can be produced on marine grade plywood, off-site or indoors, and then fixed in place as completed. I have an ample supply of used plywood sheets that were formerly known as the Kilbirnie Rec Centre Skateboard Ramps, which can be given to this project. The playground was recently redesigned with a coastal theme, and the basic premise of a new mural will need to fit within that scope. Site visits, and meetings with the Playcentre leaders, are encouraged. I have site photos on file, and a more detailed brief for interested artists. Funding will be requested through the Council's Creative Communities grants scheme, and the artist's fee will be built into that proposal. To learn more CONTACT: Karen Serjeantson, Hataitai Playcentre, 78A Hamilton Road, on 385-6393

The Art Box

Many local artists have heard about, or seen the first three instalments of the new public art project known as the Art Box. The initial contributors were John Di Stefano, whose installation "Inter/Section" graced Civic Square, followed by Kaleb Bennett with "Sky Noise Map" on Wellington's Waterfront, and most recently Chris Clements with "What Am I Doing Here?" at Wellington Hospital. The call for artists is on-going, and the brief is simple: develop a public art installation that will fit within the physical Art Box structure: a moveable one-metre cube with clear perspex sides and weighted footing. Artists will need to touch on the loftier points, such as conceptual aspects, public interface and engagement, and also provide a basic explanation of site, materials, production, and costs. The next selection round closes on May 26, and complete information about the Art Box and the submission process, is posted on the website:

New Zealand Affordable Art Show

A new organisation has cropped up over the past few months, and hopes to establish an annual exhibition opportunity for Wellington's emerging and established visual artists. Based on quite successful annual exhibition events in London, Sydney, and other major cities, the Wellington version hopes to become New Zealand's largest contemporary art fair. And it will. The even better news is that the organisers here, a charitable trust rather than a profit-minded business venture, want to see a major portion of proceed benefit our local artists. The New Zealand Affordable Art Show will soon offer an open invitation to artists wishing to display and sell their work; the tentative exhibition dates are August 2004. The opportunity will be broadcast nationwide, and the marketing will be equally ambitious. Public and audience participation should number in the thousands, and the exhibition will be intentionally designed to encourage first-time art buyers while also including seasoned collectors. It's an exciting concept driven by Wellingtonians who want to see our creative people, and our local arts scene, grow even better. So if you have original art of your own creation, that might be offered for sale between $100-$5000, and are interested in learning more about the first ever New Zealand Affordable Art Show, contact Carla Russell on 494-0975 or

Wellington City Council Arts Grants

You may already have been contacted, but it doesn't hurt to say it again: grant money is available for creative people and projects who meet the guidelines and present formal applications. Council-related funding supports everything from neighbourhood festivals, touring theatre, and concerts to public art, photography exhibitions, and artist residencies. If you have a project, organisation, or event that is in need of support, then visit the WCC grants website at and download guidelines and forms at Two free workshops will be offered on April 6, to help guide you through the grant application maze, and registration can be booked by calling 801-3595. Funding schemes include Arts & Culture Project Grants, Community Festivals Grants, Maori Arts Grants, and Creative Communities. The next deadline, for all of them, is April 30.


I've been talking to a few local artists about a simple yet extraordinary project originating in North Carolina. It's called the Art-o-mat. The basic idea is entirely creative, accessible, and global. The man behind the Art-o-mat, Clark Whittington, has been taking discarded cigarette vending machines and redesigning them, in all sorts of fresh and interesting ways, as art vending machines. He's got about 60 machines (now placed in locations such as the Andy Warhol Museum and Museum of Modern Art gift shop, a children's hospital, health food stores, and the Chicago Cultural Centre). These are fed by a network of hundreds of Art-o-mat artists, who make a small objects or original art in a series and submit them to Clark for distribution and stocking of the Art-o-mat machines. I would like to work with Clark, and as many Wellington artists as possible, to introduce the idea to Kiwi artists and then have their creative objects introduced into the Art-o-mat network. Art is sold for US$5 (over there), and each artist gets US$2.50-3 of that. Now I've already worked with Clark (having commissioned 2 machines from him already), and he is keen to connect with Wellington and New Zealand. Ultimately, with funding in place, I will commission him to design 2 new Art-o-mat machines for our city, making them the "first in the Southern Hemisphere". Any local artists interested in the Art-o-mat project should first visit Clark's website at and surf around for basic information. Examples of his refurbished machines can be found at (just click on each one fro details and larger photo). To see what other artists are already doing for the Art-o-mat format, go to and click on any of the names listed. The guidelines, on how to develop, and produce objects suitable for vending in the Art-o-mats, are at I am still working to formalise a local Art-o-mat project, but wanted to share this prospect with you. The next step will be a workshop for Wellington artists (sometime in May) where we can go over the project, format, machines, etc. If the Art-o-mat Aotearoa sounds like something you might want to participate in, just email or call me on 385-1929.