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Turning Nelson’s city centre into a walk of art

Make/Shift Spaces General Manager Anne Rush, left, and director of the Suter Gallery Julie Catchpole do some knitting at Nelson’s bus depot next to a copy of a painting of Perrine Moncrieff by artist Marjorie Naylor as part of ArtWalk.
BRADEN FASTIER / STUFF/NELSON MAIL

A trip through central Nelson will become a walk of art, with 21 works adorning the walls of city buildings.

The ArtWalk project is a joint effort by Make/Shift Spaces and The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū to reproduce and enlarge a selected group of artworks from The Suter’s permanent collection for display to celebrate Nelson’s artists and artworks.

The artworks have been installed by Speedy Signs ahead of Friday’s blessing and official launch – with the fundraising efforts and ongoing donations meaning more were likely to go up in the coming weeks.

Make/Shift Spaces general manager Anne Rush said the fact that all the works in ArtWalk had a direct connection or meaning to the Nelson/Tasman region was a key component of the project.

The replicated copy of Mrs Perrine Moncrieff is one of more than 20 on display for an indefinite period.
BRADEN FASTIER / STUFF/NELSON MAIL

“Each artwork has its own backstory that is related to the region, and we really hope people will be sparked to find out more about them,” Rush said.
The initiative is planned for an indefinite time period paving the way for plenty of time to view the works – ranging from Rita Angus, Jane Evans and Robin Slow to Sir Toss Wollaston and pioneer artist John Gully.

Each artwork is accompanied by an information panel on the art as well as a QR code directing people to a location map of the other ArtWalk displays.

The idea for ArtWalk emerged during last year’s Covid-19 lockdown, when Rush began thinking about art and cultural projects that would combat potential restrictions.

Make/Shift Spaces brings art and stories to empty retail premises, part of a global movement to re-use and re-invigorate unused urban spaces.

Bringing The Suter on board, Rush was able to draw on Make/Shift’s network of local property owners to find walls for the artworks around the city.

“The initial response from the property owners and tenants confirmed that we were on to something special,” she said.
Suter director Julie Catchpole said the gallery was always looking for new ways to extend its reach into the community.

A “super positive” response from Nelson City Council and encouraging feedback from people who had noticed the trail had shown the ArtWalk was already serving that purpose, she said.

While the gallery’s scope had branched out as a result of the exhibition, Catchpole hoped that the ArtWalk would encourage the public to visit The Suter.

“There’s the educational e also do a lot of school visits and when the children have been in they will hopefully be able to spot them around town.”

Source: Stuff, Tim O’Connell, 23 April 2021

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