This initiative brings together an exciting annual calendar of arts events and projects that celebrate the strong
heritage of culture and creativity in Ōtautahi and the vibrant contemporary art forms and artists who live and
practice here now.
The Year of the Arts has been designed to help grassroots organisations and individuals participate in activities that stimulate creativity and build recognition and enthusiasm for the arts, culture and creative sector.
We encourage organisations and businesses across the city to get on board and celebrate creativity in a way that is unique to them.
These lightboxes showcase the work of Jolt Dance, WORD Christchurch, Movement Art Practice, Little Andromeda, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Ōtautahi Creative Spaces, Go Live!, and Sparks!
You can find them on display on Oxford Terrace – close to Te Pae Convention Centre.
Classical Sparks (as it was originally called) is one of the longest running events produced by the Christchurch City Council and has been celebrated for over 40 years. In 1983, this free event attracted an audience of 6,000, and today it is enjoyed by around 20,000 people annually. Sparks! is a celebration of music for all ages, led by our own Christchurch Symphony Orchestra as well as a host of incredible one-off and returning performers including Hayley Westenra, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, and more. Since 2019, kapa haka group Te Ahikaaroa has contributed to Sparks! with singing, dancing, and orchestral compositions of waiata Māori.
Image: Puamiria Parata-Goodall (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, Waitaha and Ngāti Kahungunu) performing as part of Te Ahikaaroa at Sparks! 2020. Photography by Petra Mingneau.
Movement Art Practice
Movement Art Practice (MAP) is a Not-For-Profit contemporary dance organisation based in Ōtautahi Christchurch and believes in an Aotearoa where contemporary dance and performance are woven into the cultural fabric of our community. MAP runs community dance classes, artist residencies, and workshops at 76 Hawdon Street in Sydenham, Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Each year MAP invites a dance artist to work with community dancers to create a unique performance for the public of Ōtautahi. In 2021 MAP presented POOLSIDE, a choral and dance performance by choreographer Julia Harvie and artist Olivia Webb. The work was performed by an ensemble of eleven dancers within the emptied Waltham Lido / Ōpawa Summer Pool on the winter solstice.
Image: POOLSIDE Rehearsal, 2021. Performers: Jenny Postles, Georgina Tarren-Sweeney, Mari Shibata, Asuka Kubo, Bina Iris, Nicholas Woolaston, Jane Pieters, Josie Norris, Joanne Au, Nicole Wiedemann, Hana Kirk.
Photo by Paige Jansen.
WORD Christchurch is all about books, storytelling and ideas and has been a mainstay in the local calendar for over 25 years with an annual world-class festival and series of events. They bring communities together through a love of words in all their forms and give us direct access to the best storytellers and writers in New Zealand and the world.
You’ll find everything from Ngāi Tahu storytellers and writers with new books to podcasts, song lyrics, slam poetry, and expert panels debating issues in the festival, youth and school programmes to inspire a love of reading and writing all manner of works, and a wide range of one-off special events.
Image: Daisy Speaks, curator and host of Confluence at WORD Christchurch 2022. Photo by Johannes van Kan.
Ōtautahi Creative Spaces
Ōtautahi Creative Spaces is a creative community of people with experience of mental distress. Year-round, a hive of
creativity can be found coming from our online spaces and studios. Nestled in the Phillipstown Community Hub, there is everything from small groups trying new things to artists with a distinct practice wanting company, all connecting over a shared love of creativity. Together we make things happen: exhibitions, collaborations, art adventures, residencies and workshops with guest artists.
We want to increase access to creativity for our communities of focus: Māori, Pacific peoples, the Muslim community and rainbow youth. We believe it’s time to re-imagine our mental health system where creativity is valued as essential.
Art not only changes lives, it saves lives.
Image: Perpetuum Mobile by Calum Hay, digital painting.
Calum’s artworks explore technology as a form of artistic expression. The computer graphics within his works have a dual function, both as the subject and medium. In formulating the computer graphics, Calum used the Microsoft Paint application tool on a computer and drawing tablet. Calum’s artwork is influenced from a wide range of media. Calum identifies Piet Mondrian’s paintings (especially the early ones) as having a great impact on his art practice. Calum is also influenced by the electronic music of Brian Eno, the band Yello and U2’s album Zooropa.
Little Andromeda is a 100-seat indie live theatre tucked away in the middle of Ōtautahi’s hottest nightlife, The Terrace. You’ll normally find a whole lot of new shows there every week – emerging professional artists with awesome ideas, and established artists performing new material.
Whether you want to see small intimate theatre productions, go to the regular improv comedy show Perfuct Storm, watch comedians play Dungeons and Dragons, see the country’s hottest comedians when they’re in Christchurch, see music, dance, poetry, or even just come and hang out in the bar… Little Andromeda is here for you.
Image: Perfuct Storm, 2023.
Photo by Dan Bain.
Jolt have been pioneers of innovative, inclusive dance practice since 2001. Founded by artistic director Lyn Cotton, Jolt’s programmes challenge mainstream perspectives about dance, disability, and difference by exploring movements and connections that are artistically unique.
Jolt’s whānau currently comprises over 180 dancers with intellectual disabilities aged between 5 and 60+. Jolt is also the only company in Aotearoa to have created a dance teacher training programme for people with intellectual disabilities.
Jolt’s dynamic performance programme expands the boundaries of creativity.
Recent projects include The Seasons national tour with Chamber Music New Zealand; Tukutuku, a collaboration between secondary school students with and without disabilities run in partnership with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra; Jolt Interactive multi-sensory interactive performances designed for audiences with disabilities; and films such as SAM, a finalist in the 2021 Doc Edge Film Festival.
Image: Jolt dancer Joel Forman accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Photographer ©CMNZ – Dianna Thomson Photography.
Christchurch Symphony Orchestra
The CSO is recognised nationally and celebrated locally for the depth of their work. They believe that music enriches lives in different ways, and they provide a wide range of media in which their audience can discover, encounter, and enjoy great musical experiences.
CSO contribute to the cultural diversity of Ōtautahi Christchurch through a full and varied concert season, as the orchestra of choice for many touring artists and other arts organisations, including Royal New Zealand Ballet, and through their In the Community Ki te Hapori programme, including school residencies, collaborations with other organisations such as Jolt Dance, library and retirement village performances, and at civic events.
Championing New Zealand composers and artists is hugely important to CSO, and for many years they have showcased commissioned and premiered New Zealand works and performed with the best of New Zealand talent.
Image: Naomi Hnat, cello. Photo by Steven Boniface & Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
Beginning in 2020 as a response to the COVID Lockdowns, Go Live! Has become Ōtautahi’s premier winter music festival. Its first iteration took place over nine central music venues, encouraging musicians to continue performing and providing opportunities for audiences to support local acts.
In 2021 and 2022, Go Live! became a multi-stage event at the iconic Christchurch Town Hall. In addition to the festival, Go Live! has included a range of Industry Sessions; professional development workshops designed for practicing musicians to learn about the industry from established figures and leaders.
Image: Big Sima (right) performing live at the Christchurch Town Hall for the Go Live Festival accompanied by Infectiouss (left) 2021. Photo by Aaron Lee Photography