Art in the Park revitalises historic Flagstaff Hill and Terrace Gardens

4 March 2016

Join the celebrations of a new park for Wellington and the revitalisation of another – Flagstaff Hill and Terrace Gardens.

Artist, Rachel Silver on the Sapopema Steps, Sao Paulo Brazil

Artist, Rachel Silver on the Sapopema Steps, Sao Paulo Brazil

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As part of the upcoming Parks Week (5-13 March), Wellingtonians are invited to join in the celebrations of a new park for Wellington and the revitalisation of another – Flagstaff Hill and Terrace Gardens.

As part of the celebrations supported by Wellington City Council a community picnic will be held and two innovative new artworks will be installed on the walls of Flagstaff Hill by mosaic artist Rachel Silver and French Street Artist, Olivier Kenneybrew. 

The artworks are a collaboration with the local community, which aim to enliven the space with bold colours. The park, part of Terrace Gardens, is appreciated by neighbouring residents as a sanctuary – a quiet, green space, hidden behind buildings, between houses and under huge old trees.

Rachel Silver has created large scale mosaics all over the world. Her extensive CV includes the Sapopema Steps, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Silver has just returned home after travelling and living abroad and sees this project as an exciting opportunity to network with artists and cement her practice here. 

“I’m really excited to be creating my first public art work in the wonderful city I grew up in,” says Rachel.

“Wellington City Council have created a unique concept with the interactivity of Art in the Park, it should be a really fun day!”

Silver is looking forward to collaborating with French born artist Polar. Like Rachel, Polar’s work takes him all over the globe but for now he has chosen to settle in Wellington.

The Terrace Gardens Park was acquired by Council in the 1970s and has had a colourful past – the site of community festivals and student parties alike. It has been a forgotten space that had become a bit overgrown and dilapidated.

Flagstaff Hill, adjacent to Terrace Gardens was purchased last year by Wellington City Council. Over the past year Council have planted and pruned trees, garden beds have been weeded and replanted, pathways re-established and new seating and a paved area installed to encourage more people to enjoy the park, to walk through it and spend time there.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says, “A big thank you to the community who advocated for the city to purchase Flagstaff Hill over a number of years and for working with the Council on the redesign of the Terrace Gardens.”

“Everybody benefits from a ‘daily dose of nature’ and Wellington has superb green and accessible spaces close to our Central Business District.”

Councillor Iona Pannett who chairs the Environment Committee says it is fantastic to see another green space created in the inner city.  “We know Wellingtonians want more green space and we hope that these two areas will be enjoyed by many.”

Art in the Park is part of Parks Week and will open Saturday 12 March at 11am with a flag raising ceremony at the small park on top of Flagstaff Hill. Visitors can then wander down to see the artists in action in the Terrace Gardens Park. Local musicians will play from 12 noon – 2pm.

Visitors are asked to bring their brightest picnic blanket along to watch the art unfold, listen to local musicians, enjoy the traditional lolly scramble and be part of a people-sized picnic blanket mosaic. The mosaic will be photographed by a drone at 1pm. 

The park can be reached on foot from O’Reilly Ave, off Boulcott Street or from Percival Street and Allenby Terrace. It sits between Willis Street and the Terrace. The rain day is on 13 March.