Katikati‘s NZ mural contest goes online

Katikati Open Air Art president Steve Graveson, pictured with one of the town’s older heroes Dave Gallagher, encourages everyone to head online and view the NZ Mural Contest this month. Photo: Merle Cave.

Katikati’s famous New Zealand Mural Contest – this time to celebrate the community’s ‘Unsung Heroes’ of the 2020 lockdown – will not take place on the streets but on screens instead.

Scheduled for last October, the contest will now take place online this month – in a fun, new virtual way to combat Covid-related challenges.

Katikati Open Air Art president Steve Graveson says he’s had to “think outside the box” to bring art to the people for the 17th event – set to begin on Tuesday, April 19.

Zoom sessions

Provided with canvases, paints, and photographs of nine unsung heroes of the Katikati community fro m the 2020 lockdown, artists will create their masterpieces in their own set-up home studios.

Steve will record Zoom sessions with the nine artists twice-daily.  “Then we’ll put together a little programme, and people can then go to the Arts Junction; or on our website; or the Digital Hub and watch a 15-30 minute daily update of where artists are up to and how they’re going.”

Steve will also do “get to know them” style interviews with the artists. This year’s artists are from New Zealand and Australia, so he’s set to have fun juggling different time zones to make it happen.

Not wanting any technological terrors, the festival’s virtual element will not be live. Artist video sessions will run a day behind, says Steve. “The start date of April 19 will be screened on April 20, with daily sessions screening between 10am and 2pm at the Arts Junction in Katikati.”

Artists will then post their completed portraits to Katikati, where they will be displayed at the Arts Junction for judging and admiring.

Nine heroes

The Unsung Heroes to be immortalised in the murals come from organisations that were “major players” during 2020’s first lockdown, such as the local foodbank, Red Cross and Katikati Community Centre to name a few.

Steve gives special mention to community hero, Patrick Dunn, who “represents everybody else” and who passed away shortly after lockdown.

“He was one of those super obliging, helpful, really friendly sort of people,” says Steve.

This year’s festival is to serve as a “reminder of how the country came together for a short period of time and supported each other,” says Steve.

His festival committee is “determined to honour the support from our sponsors and to honour the people who have been nominated and to support the artists”.

The festival will run from April 19-23 – and display a great celebration of community strength and art. For more information, see: www.katikatiopenairart.co.nz

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