Downtown Tauranga is close to its artist’s makeover for a day as ArtFair 2011 fast approaches – on Saturday March 19.
About 85 artists are scheduled to exhibit their work in a huge one-day outdoor market that covers lower Wharf Street, the southern end of Willow Street and parts of Red Square.
Steel sculptor Nic Clegg and Doreen McNeill with her easel in Maison Monique, both of whom are exhibiting at ArtFair 2011.
ArtFair organiser Pete Morris says the event is the collective work of Creative Tauranga, Tauranga City Council and Mainstreet Tauranga.
“There is no way I could run this thing alone without all the support I have received,” says Pete.
In build up to the event, some artists have displayed their work in shop windows in the area, including that by metal sculptor Nic Clegg.
Nic was born in Manchester and moved with his wife and two children to Welcome Bay at the end of 2008.
He has enjoyed the shift as it has enabled him to work full-time on his sculpting, which is viewable presently at downtown store, Blur Optician.
“I really enjoy working with steel – it is an unforgiving material, yet a forgiving metal,” says Nic.
“A hard inorganic material, yet it has a flow, and shape that can be manipulated.”
Nic moulds it into caricatured and figurative art pieces.
To help people interested in art see such works and those by the other 84 displaying on Saturday, the Tauranga City Council is allowing free parking in Elizabeth and Durham Street car parks on the day. Parking on The Strand reclamation is also free of charge.
Pete says the aim of the event is to show off the vast artistic talent found in the Bay of Plenty.
“The reason for ArtFair is to focus the wider community’s attention on our arts’ community by having a showcase event celebrating the tremendous talent and wonderfully diverse work of artists in Tauranga and the Western Bay,” says Pete.
“Expect to see artists of all genres, all age groups, professional and amateur, all ethnicities, art societies and groups, schools, polytech students, arts and crafts people and groups, potters, weavers, quilters, sculptors, poets, musicians, street art performers and others engaged in the many creative arts.”
Pete also hopes the event will breathe some life back into the CBD, particularly with the participation of businesses in the Art in Windows element, where artists such as Nic are exhibiting in store windows in both the week before and after ArtFair on Saturday.