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Chorus cabinet art winners chosen: Nelson City Council

The Brain Injury Association members Maxine McKean, left, and Emile Grey take part in painting the Association’s winning design on a cabinet in Franklyn Street.


Four diverse designs representing joy, community, diversity and love have been chosen to adorn street-sited Chorus telecommunications cabinets throughout Nelson.

The four designs were submitted to Arts Council Nelson, which ran the competition to find the winning designs on behalf of Nelson City Council and Chorus.

The final designs were chosen following feedback from Council’s Arts Selection Panel and will be painted on to cabinets on Nayland Road in Stoke, Tipahi Street, Waimea Road and Washington Valley Road over the next few months.

The winning artists are Natalia Chaplin, Barbara Franklet, Rachel Gordon on behalf of the Brain Injury Association and Emily Narbey.

The artists receive $1500 for a large cabinet and $1000 for a medium-sized cabinet from Chorus to complete the works.

Community and Recreation Committee Chair Tim Skinner says the competition is a great way to show off Nelson’s wealth of creativity.

“Thanks to Chorus for partnering with us to brighten up our city streets and help our community create art that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

Natalia’s design features the word “Aroha”, with a scenic paradise vista depicted inside the letters. The word will be outlined in phosphorescent paint so it will also be visible at night.

“I think the idea of brightening up Chorus cabinets with art is a great one,” Natalia says.

“Not only do artists get to try out something different to painting on typical canvas or paper, but the final piece is displayed in a setting which contrasts the usual gallery.”

Barbara Franklet is both nervous and thrilled to see her work on display on the cabinets.

A professional artist, Barbara’s piece is called “The Block Party”, depicting a colourful, lively gathering of birds. It will adorn a cabinet on Washington Valley Road, a road she drives five days a week on her way into work.
She hopes it will bring a smile to the faces of those who see it as they pass by.

“I was thrilled to be selected for the Chorus cabinet art competition. I have been a professional artist for over 20 years – but have never done anything like this. It’s always exciting to try something new.”

In conjunction with the Brain Injury Association, Rachel Gordon’s entry will bring the Association’s members in on the painting process.

A main image of the brain will be broken into two hemispheres, one side analytical and the other creative. Members of the Association will be invited to write their own words and numbers on the analytical side, and unleash their inner Jackson Pollock on the other side.

Rachel says the Association has a large number of Nelson-based members, who enjoy actively participating in the community. The Chorus cabinet art competition is a great way to empower and encourage those affected by brain injury.

“We are really looking forward to creating something the members can be proud of contributing to, as well as raising awareness of the brain in the local community.”

Emily Narbey’s design is a riot of flowers, each beautiful and unique, just like people are, she says. The flowers will cover the entire cabinet and coloured to represent an ombre sunset, creating an almost rainbow look in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

“In an uncertain world, what could be nicer than being greeted by a warm, lovely, colourful and cheery artwork on your way home from school or work? I hope my art brings a splash of colour, a dash of joy, and a bit of hope to the lives of those that see it.”

Nelson born and raised, Emily says she’s grateful for the opportunity to make her artistic mark on her hometown.

“The Chorus cabinet I’m painting is on the same street as my old kindy. I’m stoked to have been chosen. My aim with this design was to create something that would bring joy to those who looked at it.”

Chorus Community Relations Manager Jo Seddon says that it has been great to once again work with Nelson City Council to bring artworks to the city’s streetscape.

“Anything we can do to combat the tagging that litters our streets has to be great for the community and we are really happy to be part of this solution,” she said.

Rachel Gordon/the Brain Injury Association’s design

Emily Narbey’s design


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