News | 15 September 2021
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Hoardings to paint a picture about the city

This month, Wellington City Council is launching a pilot Creative Hoardings programme to activate our public spaces and to support property developers in revitalising the city.

Telly Tuita, Ofa Atu, Te Whanganui-a-Tara (detail from artwork)

The Creative Hoarding programme was initiated by a cross-council group and members of the business community in response to an increase in the amount of hoarding being installed across the Capital.

Wellington has a number of creative hoardings in place already, most notably in and around Civic Square – on hoarding surrounding the Library, CAB and the Town Hall. 

“These artworks amplify the spirit of our people, showcase our place, speak to our city’s heritage and tell our stories,” says Mayor Andy Foster.

“Where there are hoardings, there is generally something happening behind them which will be a venue for arts and entertainment, a location for the community, or a site to stimulate business and the economy.

“These new creative hoardings will be able to reflect that vitality, energy and generate interest in what’s to come when construction is complete,” says Mayor Foster.

Hoardings are the temporary safety walls that surround construction sites, mostly built from ply panels, painted grey, have faded site safety signage and branding on and are prone to graffiti.

These indistinct barriers have huge potential to tell stories, showcase creativity, enliven public spaces and enrich our experience of being in the city, says Senior Arts Advisor, Katie Taylor-Duke.  

“They present opportunities to be a canvas to showcase local creative talent, enhance the city, and for property developers to brighten up sites and make the area more welcoming and engaging.  

“The Creative Hoarding programme builds on these projects and takes it beyond the Council, making it easier for developers and property owners to install artwork on their hoardings.”

To initiate the programme, Council commissioned four local artists, Gabby O’Connor, Ariki Brightwell, Ruth Thomas-Edmond and Telly Tuita, along with Council’s Creative and Brand team, to create designs for hoarding.  

These artworks form the Creative Hoarding Library, which will be added to if the pilot is successful, and they can be downloaded for free to print and install on hoarding. 

Ariki Brightwell: section of te kahui mounga

Local retailer Don Wearing says: “With the increased presence of construction in the CBD, hoardings have become a constant, so it’s both a relief and a pleasure to see these being turned into a positive and uplifting visual experience.

“Providing opportunities for local artists to showcase their work outside of a gallery and on a large scale in these very visible locations is the icing on the cake. I look forward to this being developed further.”

The programme was inspired by the City of Sydney's, and by Christchurch City Council's programme, initiated after the 2011 earthquakes.

These artworks will add meaning to public space, says artist Ariki Brightwell.

“Art changes a site. It determines and changes the energy of the space and draws people in.”