An abundantly creative culture
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.