Stratford Press

Art lovers on a journey of discovery

Coastal Arts Trail features over 60 stops


Anew arts trail has launched, taking people on a journey through three regions and a wide range of arts. The Coastal Arts Trail, a unique partnershi­p between Venture Taranaki, Whanganui and Partners, and the Central Economic Developmen­t Agency (CEDA) (Manawatu¯), is New Zealand’s newest and largest arts tourism experience, featuring over 60 stops across the lower west coast of the North Island, including more than 30 stops in the Taranaki region.

The trail is an easy, self-driving, art lovers’ journey through the Taranaki, Whanganui, and Manawatu¯ regions, taking visitors through an eclectic mix of public art, street art, galleries, and museums.

From well-known institutio­ns to hidden gems away from the beaten track, travellers can expect a full range of art experience­s throughout the three regions. And, if they’re lucky enough to get a booking for the world’s first gallery camper, they can also do it in style.

The creative industry is a shared strategic focus for all three regions, and this is their most significan­t collaborat­ion to date, to ensure a united approach.

After extensive planning, the vision for the trail was realised with the help of government funding for the recovery of tourism communitie­s affected by Covid-19.

Taranaki regional developmen­t agency Venture Taranaki embarked on the collaborat­ion with an ambition to build awareness around the arts and cultural offerings in Taranaki, and to increase visitation to the region as well as visitor expenditur­e, particular­ly in the arts sector.

The project also recognises the importance of kotahitang­a, working together towards common goals.

“Our involvemen­t in this collaborat­ion will contribute towards strengthen­ing the creative reputation of our region, as well as contributi­ng to visitor sector resilience and encouragin­g further regional visitation,” says Venture Taranaki general manager people and place Vicki Fairley.

To set the Coastal Arts Trail apart, and to provide an additional product offering, an ambitious gallery camper concept was put together in conjunctio­n with Quirky Campers NZ.

Launching at the end of June, Vallery is a world-first art gallery campervan, offering a completely immersive art experience: travellers can sleep under art, dine with art, and recline on art, all integrated in a comfortabl­e and practical way.

Boasting more than 50 works by 26 artists, Vallery represents just a taste of the sheer volume of art to be explored and experience­d on the Coastal Arts Trail.

Nine Taranaki artists have works on exhibit inside Vallery, with a total of 23 items, including a large-scale ceiling commission from Taranaki artist Gabrielle Belz, featuring a glowing night sky.

Belz’s work also includes a striking black-and-white arch depicting some of the region’s iconic native trees and birds.

Keen eyes may recognise local beachscape­s in Diane Stoppard’s pinhole photograph­y, reproduced on the camper’s bedding.

Travellers will also discover other works throughout the campervan, including a selection collected from galleries and artists’ studios throughout Taranaki.

From celebrated local artists such as Rohan Wealleans and Sally Laing, to exciting newcomers discovered at the inclusive Gover St Gallery space, there’s a lot to explore.

Vicki says the artistic collaborat­ion is a testament to the region’s artists and makers and will support tourism in region.

“We’re delighted to play host to the Coastal Arts Trail, and everyone exploring it. Vallery allows us to showcase just some of the talent present in Taranaki, and we’re looking forward to welcoming domestic and internatio­nal visitors into the region to experience the rest.”

 ?? ?? Curator Aimee Ralfini outside Vallery.
Curator Aimee Ralfini outside Vallery.
 ?? Photos / Supplied ?? Vallery’s interior with a tabletop illustrati­on by Loche Pikah.
Photos / Supplied Vallery’s interior with a tabletop illustrati­on by Loche Pikah.

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