Garden and Art Festival Reviewed
This year’s festival was blessed with brilliantly fine Bay of Plenty weather and locals and visitors alike made the most of the fabulous gardens and art on display.
My main focus this time was some of the events in and around the downtown area and I wasn’t disappointed.
The work by the BOP Polytechnic students at the top of the Bongard Centre was a sight to behold in terms of innovation and creativity. They totally transformed the Level 5 sky top area with colour and quirky design.
I also visited the rooftop garden opposite the Baycourt theatre and was greeted with a variety of well-presented exhibits in what looked to be a mini Ellerslie with equally impressive shows of garden design and ideas.
Another highlight, and in keeping with the garden theme, was the work I saw at the Creative Tauranga Community Gallery’s ’Masterclass - All Things Floral’ exhibition.
Tauranga’s Graham Crow stole the show for me with his abstracted floral works. The composition and colours in these pieces are totally captivating.
After seeing so much art in various exhibitions during the year it’s really refreshing to find exciting original work that is different and new to the eye.
One of Tauranga artist Graham Crow’s floral abstractions. ’Bud’ 2012
Other artists of note in the exhibition were Doreen Mc Neill, Jenny Coker and Timo Ranalli.
The organisers of the festival did all they could to promote the idea that many of the events in the downtown area were free of charge.
A number of people I spoke to thought there were charges as there are with other events and areas of the Garden and Art Festival.
It may be something to do with the busy state of our lives but the message wasn’t read by some and as a result they missed out on seeing some quality art experiences.
The fact that some of these events are free may be something the organisers need to emphasise even more as they prepare for the next festival.
The sculpture symposium on Tauranga’s newly developed waterfront was my personal highlight.
Many of us who have despaired over the fact that the most important land in the downtown area was, and in part still is, reserved for carparking were overjoyed to see the newly created Stage.1. space used again for a public event.
Sculptors involved were Peter Cramond, Ashley Grant, Nic Clegg, ’Space’, Anna Korver, Jocelyn Pratt, Claire Sadler, Steve Molloy, Trevor Nathan, Logan Shipgood, Allan Grabham, Andrew Deadman, Davie Mc Ghie and wood sculptor Pita Rua Lagan.
Those who visited daily saw large blocks of Ōamaru and Maratoto stone transformed into works of art.
It was great to see Tauranga Art Gallery Director Penny Jackson at the symposium one morning engaging with some of the sculptors.
Sculptor Davie Mc Ghie in action on Tauranga’s new waterfront area.
Organiser and sculptor Rex O’Brien must have been happy with the number of visitors the symposium attracted and particularly gratified with the turnout for the sculpture auction at the end of the symposium on Sunday the 11th November.
The results of the auction were very pleasing for the sculptors and especially for those who now own exciting original works of art.
It was heartwarming to see that Pāpāmoa sculptor Peter Cramond’s evocative piece depicting the release of the Rena damaged penguins at the Mount Beach in February 2012 was bought by the Tauranga City Council for public display. It’s an important work of art for our local area, a thank you to all those who helped with the clean-up and a reminder for those in government that we need to take care of our precious environment.
There was so much to see this year that I didn’t get to see everything and didn’t get time to see some of the ’Art in Windows’ fashion exhibits in Tauranga’s downtown shops. One that I did see was artist Wendy Pederson’s striking and ’sprouting’ creation at the Ebony store. Very cool.
The Garden and Art Festival is now a well established part of the Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty experience that reflects the rich creative diversity to be found in our region.
The event will continue to grow from strength to strength attracting thousands of visitors to share the positivity and beauty of the city and region we are so proud of.
by Pete Morris (November, 2012).
Pete Morris is an occasional painter and an art lover. He is a freelance writer who has a particular interest in promoting the visual arts in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.
Date of Event2012