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Celebrating Creativity at the Year of the Arts Block Party


The Ōtautahi Year of the Arts Block Party is happening on Saturday 25 November; a celebration of the incredible talent in the city, in a day that will most certainly have something for everybody.

Located in venues across the city between the Ōtakaro Avon River and the Botanic Gardens including Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū, Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art, Canterbury Museum at CoCA, The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, Toi Auaha Community Arts Hub, and Papa Hou at The Kind Foundation (formerly the YMCA), the day will feature artist talks, performances, live music, an arts market, and children’s workshops.

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū will open their major summer exhibition, Spring Time is Heart-break: Contemporary Art in Aotearoa with a day of artist talks inside the gallery and RDU DJs playing on the forecourt.

Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art will be holding a conversation between Chloe Cull (Pouarataki – Curator Māori at Christchurch Art Gallery) and Māia Abraham (Kaiwhakahaere Ngā Ratonga Maori, Manager Māori & Multicultural Services, Christchurch City Libraries) about Robyn Kahukiwa’s extensive and varied body of work, some of which will be on exhibition in the gallery in Tangata Whenua.

Upstairs, Canterbury Museum is hosting the Six Extinctions exhibition and Saturday will be the first day of annual Great Museum Santa Search competition.

The Kind Foundation (formerly the YMCA) are holding an open day, 10am – 4pm, to celebrate the completion of their new complex, which contains the especially impressive Papa Hou theatre.

From noon to 6pm the Arts Centre will be hosting a special artist and makers market with opportunities to purchase unique pieces, as well as learn new techniques and skills from a range of artists. Performances have been programmed throughout the day on the D-Lawn at the Arts Centre featuring performances from Te Roopu Tuhono, Lucy Gray, Lee Martin, the Christchurch Showbiz Showstoppers, and Echo to name but a few.

Also within the Arts Centre, in Altiora performance space, Danny Syme from Circo Kali will lead two free circus workshops for children; one for those aged 6-9 and another for those aged 10-12, these have limited placements, so registration is required.

The Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities will be holding two drawing workshops; drawing from the (ancient) antique and life drawing. These are rare opportunities to engage with the amazing collections of the Teece in a guided and supported creative environment. Participation is free, but places are limited and registrations are essential.

At Toi Auaha Community Arts Hub, Pia Hill (aged 8) has curated an exhibition titled Pūrākau with some of Ōtautahi’s best known creatives. Upstairs, some of the 21 resident artists will host an open studio day, while in the carpark nationally-recognised artist and pounamu carver Jon Jeet (Ngāti Maniapoto, Fijian Indian), along with a handful of talented facilitators, will be onsite teaching anyone interested how to carve a simple pounamu form in the Tūhono Taonga Tūhono Tāngata Trust mobile carving unit.

Hughes Development Limited have kindly made the green space available at 27 Worcester Boulevard, where under the banner of Yarnarchy, Gap Filler will be running free crochet workshops and yarn-bombing. Later in the afternoon SCAPE Public Art will be holding a picnic and workshop reflecting on the work of Priscilla Rose-Howe.
Outside of the Block Party, the weekend is massive for arts, culture, creativity and ngā toi Māori in Ōtautahi with the Court Theatre’s summer musical, Something Rotten opening; the junior, primary, and intermediate competitions taking place in the Tūhono Kapa Haka Festival at the Town Hall; the launch of the Little Street Art Festival; Encraftment Christmas Market at Pioneer Stadium, and across the city, Arts Canterbury’s Open Studios will see visual artists of all kinds opening their working spaces for visitors.

Don’t miss this awesome celebration of creativity for Christchurch. November 25.


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