I am currently involved in an outdoor art trail here at Central Park, Brooklyn, Wellington for local emerging artists and designers running from March 5-8.
This project, Upstream Art Trail has been organised by the Friends of Central Park who are all locals that devote time to maintaining and improving the park. It is an incredibly thoughtful and generous project that gives emerging artists and designers an opportunity to exhibit a site specific outdoor work with a modest budget. Upstream also aims to bring new visitors to the park, while also providing a cultural experience and a different point of view to the regular users.
My involvement was initially to select the artists and to act as a mentor – helping with logistics, practical concerns and advice along with the wonderful Vanessa Crowe.
I am also running/coordinating a local school community project that will result in a collaborative artwork made by children from the four closest schools to the park: Te Aro School, St Bernards, Ridgeway School and Brooklyn School.
In December, I ran research workshops at the four schools on the theme of “Shelter” which is the greater project’s theme. Using a class/group from each school we brain-stormed the theme into What, Who, Why, How, discussing all the types of shelters we could think of, the different creatures that made them and why and how we can make shelters ourselves along with many other tangents! I then asked the students to draw a creature and its shelter/s and then they drew an ultimate/fantasy shelter. We also tried to make shelters with our own bodies.

There was a fantastic amount of data collected which has allowed me to develop the project further. This project is student led whereby I had no idea what materials or form or system that this project would take – unlike my other collaborative projects. The unknown makes it a little scary – working outside my comfort zone, but it is also thrilling and reliant on serendipity and experience.
One thing that was announced by the Wellington City Council just after my initial workshop phase was the idea of Wellington becoming a “super city” and I have decided to run with this for a few reasons:
Kids are fantastic problem solvers and lateral thinkers and should be involved in this discussion.
Wellington is already a Super City full of Super people.
What if kids designed a city?
I am looking forward to the types of shelters and city planning that the kids will come up with – they may be on to something.
The artwork will be Super. Ok, I know I have used the S word rather liberally, but kids are, and they all know/understand the idea of a Superhero being someone with extraordinary powers who comes to the rescue. Extending from my last blog post – these guys will be inheriting the world from us and they may need to rescue the future from some of our decisions.
I will be running the artwork “making” workshops in the last two weeks of February where I will be spending a full day on site at each school making the components for the greater artwork.
The local school communities will then be invited [along with their families] to assist with the install of the works at the park in the days leading up to the launch. The details will be announced shortly.
Here are some images from the research workshops in early December 2014: [in no particular order]

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The Upstream Arts Trail would like to thank the Wellington City Council, Creative Communities, The local schools participating, The artists, The friends of Central Park and private sponsors for making such a wonderful community event happen.

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