An abun­dantly cre­ative cul­ture

Go Travel New Zealand - - Whanganui -

Whanganui is home to over 400 artists mak­ing the small city a vi­brant and di­verse place to visit and be. The Whanganui School of De­sign, Quay School of the Arts, the School of Fash­ion and the Whanganui Glass School all de­vel­oped and con­trib­uted to the rich­ness of the arts com­mu­nity, gal­leries, stu­dios and pub­lic art lur­ing many artists and their fam­i­lies to take up res­i­dence and con­tinue their craft in the river city.

To­day UCOL’s Whanganui cam­pus is home to the School of De­sign and con­tin­ues to nur­ture and train new artists and cre­ators in vis­ual arts in­clud­ing sculp­ture, pho­tog­ra­phy, glass art and dig­i­tal arts, graphic de­sign and tex­tile and fash­ion de­sign. With this sort of en­vi­ron­ment it’s no won­der the art in all shapes and forms si­dles up and stands square be­side some of the most de­light­ful her­itage build­ings and at­trac­tions in New Zealand.

The num­ber of stu­dios are grow­ing and an­nu­ally over 75 of these stu­dios and gal­leries are open to the pub­lic dur­ing the Artists Open Stu­dios event. It’s a favourite time of year as artists talk and share with vis­i­tors their in­spi­ra­tions, work in progress and in­ished works that are the re­sult of hours of work. Very few visit with­out tak­ing home some­thing spe­cial to re­mind them of the en­joy­ment and at­mos­phere of be­ing sur­rounded by beau­ti­ful ob­jects, images and pieces that speak to them.

Al­ways on the list is a visit to the New Zealand Glass­works, a gallery and hot glass stu­dio with a view­ing plat­form for the pub­lic to see the kilns and glass artists in ac­tion. It’s mes­meris­ing and easy to spend a while ob­serv­ing and won­der­ing at the skill that en­ables molten glass to take such a va­ri­ety of shades and shapes.

The Sar­jeant Gallery is syn­ony­mous with con­tem­po­rary New Zealand art and recog­nised as a stand out re­gional art gallery. Cur­rently rais­ing signi icant funds to earth­quake strengthen and ex­pand the orig­i­nal and iconic her­itage build­ing, the Gallery tells the story of an un­ri­valled be­quest to the peo­ple of Whanganui. The en­tire art col­lec­tion con­sists of more than 8,000 works and archival items span­ning four cen­turies of Euro­pean and New Zealand art his­tory. While not all on dis­play the Gallery is cur­rently lo­cated in a re­stored sleek and mod­ern ware­house set­ting along the river bank. Reg­u­larly chang­ing ex­hi­bi­tions en­sure this is a place that can be re­visted time and time again.

Whether it’s old or new, there is al­ways some­thing to dis­cover, a new artist, a new work or a fa­mil­iar favourite. Street art and pub­lic sculp­tures merge the his­tory, cul­ture and com­mu­nity of the very spe­cial place that is Whanganui. Liv­ing and lov­ing the cre­ativ­ity here ev­ery day.

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