Street Art Set to Erupt Across Wellington

22 July 2011

From Monday, parts of the city are set to be transformed by a series of street artworks. Two youth projects, funded by the Ministry of Justice, will take place in Island Bay and Aro Valley.

The first youth project is the result of a new partnership between the Island Bay Community Centre and the Eastern Suburbs Youth Trust. A well-known and respected street artist, 'Ghstie', will oversee the work, which kicks off next week at the Radius Pharmacy building on The Parade - right next to the community centre.

Colloquially known as 'the bunker', the pavilion next to the Aro Valley Community Centre is next in line. Wellingtonians should have an idea of the calibre of work if they've been to Opera House Lane of late - these Boys and Girls Institute artists, led by Yelz, will carry out the work. They will also mentor young people from Aro Valley - one of many youth initiatives supported by the Aro Valley Community Centre.

Wellington City Council's Arts and Culture Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, says initiatives like these are just the beginning.

"We've got lots of people on board here," says Cr Ahipene-Mercer. "The Police are behind it, we're behind it, and so are the most respected of Wellington's street artists. If this takes off, it'll encourage young people to come to us first before taking to private property.

"This work not only encourages the young people to use designated space, but it gives them the opportunity to learn from the very people they respect in the Wellington street art community."

Part of a wider initiative to enhance Wellingtonians' sense of safety, and also to raise the bar of the quality of street art - as well as discouraging tagging - a host of Wellington-based artists and street artists have been commissioned to work on various parts of the city.

Upcoming public art projects include the following:

  • A series of semi-permanent works alongside the fence where Tory Street meets Buckle Street. This will feature 14 panels by a selection of artists. Funded by the Tunnels Alliance and curated by Manky Chops Gallery.
  • A new artwork to replace the existing mural behind the bus stop on Waitoa Road in Hataitai.
  • A large artwork on Lukes Lane celebrating the Lukes family (1800s shipbuilding family, one of whom went on to become Mayor of Wellington last century - Sir Charles Manley Luke). This was requested by the Wellington Historical Society. Street art collective Pirates will carry out the work.
  • A community art project led by well-known Wellington artist, Bruce Mahalski, is set to take place on the large fence at the corner of John Street and Adelaide Road in Newtown (where the new supermarket is due to be built).
  • Several bus stops in Aro Valley, and one in Johnsonville, will be adorned by public artworks by artists such as Dhyana Beaumount, Xoe Hall and Freeman White.