2019 marked a significant change in the creative direction for the Mercury Bay Art Escape. A much expanded format, including the Tuia 250 street art festival and the Chasing Mercury Art Workshops, resulted in greater public engagement and a richer more fulfilling experience for visitors and locals alike.
MBAE Chairperson and Kuaotunu photographer, Ian Preece, commented “We are thrilled with the results of the collective efforts of the trust, artists and the community. Feedback from the public has been overwelmingly positive and we have seen an increase in Open Studio visits not only at weekends but across the week as a direct result.”
The two weekends of the Open Studios remain the anchoring event of the Art Escape and artists were generous with their time and energy sharing their art, skills and experiences.
In addition to the Open Studios weekends, events included the Tuia 250 street art in Whitianga, the Chasing Mercury Art Workshops, and Chris Charteris’s interactive sculpture attracted a wide range of visitors and participants. More importantly it engaged a wide range of the community, especially our younger members – the future generation of artists and art lovers. The other effect was the increase in the number of midweek studio appointments experienced by the artists.
Mercury Bay Trustee, Jane Parson, who organised the Tuia 250 murals commented “The response from onlookers, whether they be residents or visitors, during the week, was overwhelmingly positive and created an excited and thankful vibe for the artists who have so generously donated their time and skill to bring this Mercury Bay Art Escape project to Whitianga.”
The guest speaker at 2019’s Gala Opening at Hot Waves Cafe was the renowned Thames-based artist, Fatu Feu’u. Fatu kept the audience in thrall with his project to reduce youth suicides, and there was delight at his surprise auction of a donated work of his art. The showcase exhibition at Hot Waves Cafe features new work from all 46 participants member artists and this exhibition will continue until the end of Easter. Visit and vote in “People’s Choice Award” the winner of which will be announced in The Informer in May.
The Mercury Bay Art Escape Trust wishes to thank their community sponsors who see the real value of the event as expressed by our New World Whitianga sponsor Sara Stanley “...you have organised a fabulous event. The murals look beautiful, we would love to be involved in the continued development of this annual event.”
If you missed the Open Studios event in March or want to visit artists again, all Mercury Bay Art Escape artists and art groups can be visited throughout the year by appointment. The 2019 “Guide” to the artist studios is available all year either online or at galleries, cafes and “I” sites in Mercury Bay. For all information see www.mercurybayartescape.com