The largest, longest-running, and perhaps the most diverse artist trail in the country is coming together with UCOL to celebrate ‘21 Years of Art Discovery’.
Artist Open Studios (AOS) will launch at UCOL Whanganui this Friday, 20 March. Nearly 87 studios from across the region will have artwork on display, as part of the AOS Starting Point Exhibition held at Whanganui Arts @ The Centre, 19 Taupo Quay. The opening of this exhibition will take place after the formalities of the AOS Launch conclude.
“We were to collaborate with AOS last year, but our plans couldn’t go through due to COVID, which makes this year’s art initiatives all the more special. It’s exciting to see our plans fall into place finally,” says Victoria Campbell, UCOL’s Head of School – Creative Industries.
Founded in 2001 by Whanganui artists Sue Cooke and Catherine Macdonald, AOS has earned itself a strong reputation for raising the profile of local artists and is supported by Whanganui District Council (WDC). “The AOS Trust is grateful to have the support of UCOL to help us once again run this iconic event,” says Ness Radich, AOS Event Coordinator.
Running as a part of AOS this month is another collaborative project, which gives Whanganui’s future artists a chance to shine. “The Youth Committee Exhibition is a stunning platform for artists between 12 and 24 years of age to showcase their work. It really does put the young and unique energy of our flourishing region in the forefront. We’re hosting the exhibition in our Atrium this year,” says Stephanie West, UCOL’s Programme Leader (Art & Design).
UCOL is working with AOS Trust to make these events a reality for the vibrant arts community of Whanganui. UCOL students are also expected to exhibit their work again in the Edith Gallery – an initiative supported by AOS. Last time the event took place, nearly 1,000 people visited with numerous works being sold. “Not only did UCOL gift their time and provide us with space to host the official AOS Event Launch but they’ve also provided an opportunity for our young emerging artists. Bronwyn Paul (Whanganui Campus Manager), Victoria, and Stephanie have been very supportive,” adds Ness.
Good art thrives on collaboration, and this year UCOL Whanganui hosted a mentorship programme, running as part of the Whanganui Walls Street Art and Music Festival. “We were more than happy to be a part of this high-quality open gallery event, providing emerging artists a chance to learn from the very best professionals, artists Dan Mills and Elijah Lamont,” adds Victoria.
Art communities come in various forms – ranging from studio complexes to artist salons to online platforms – but the aim is always to bring people together. That’s certainly the case here in Whanganui as we seem to have it all this season.