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International artists to descend on Christchurch for street art extravaganza

28 September 2017

The YMCA of Christchurch has announced an exciting line up for the city's third street art extravaganza.

The South Island's largest city is already spoilt for choice when it comes to vibrant works of art splashed across the central city.

Street Prints Otautahi will see the addition of further large-scale murals in the CBD, New Brighton and Lyttelton.

The creation of new artworks will be bolstered by a diverse range of events and activities for all ages throughout the two-week festival between the 20th of December and New Year.

Artists currently lined up to participate are FinDAC, Hula, Amppiritto, Frank & Mimi, Claire Foxton, George Rose, Phibs, MayoNaize, Cracked Ink and Erika Pearce – hailing from the United Kingdom, the United States, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

They are all new to Christchurch so the public can look forward to seeing art that is truly fresh to the city.

Following on from the success of SPECTRUM in 2014 and 2015, the YMCA is now working with PAINT – a charitable trust whose purpose is to create opportunities to promote and support street art for the purposes of urban beautification, creativity and positive economic outcomes for New Zealand.

Together the two socially-focused, not-for-profits aim to deliver a festival which will celebrate all forms of street art including street dance, theatre and music while adding to Christchurch’s already impressive collection of large-scale murals.

The event will be funded by the Christchurch City Council (CCC), the YMCA and a range of other private and philanthropic supporters.

SPECTRUM was directed by Oi You! and drew hundreds of thousands of local and international visitors to the central city, and along with the creation of many murals on the streets of Christchurch, has played a significant part in Christchurch’s now firmly-established international reputation as a street art destination.

SPECTRUM was funded by CCC, the Rata Foundation, a number of private sponsors and underwritten by the YMCA of Christchurch. It was consistently referred to as one of the best street art exhibitions seen in New Zealand, if not the entire Southern Hemisphere. Oi You! and the YMCA ended their partnership in 2016. 

“George Shaw and Shannon Webster of Oi You! are experts in the field of street art and delivered two events in partnership with us, as well as RISE with the Canterbury Museum in 2013, all of which were extremely impressive – and were without doubt a great thing for Christchurch,” says YMCA Christchurch CEO Josie Ogden Schroeder.

Jah and Lovie Smith, of PAINT, have been activators and advocates in the field of street art for many years. Ogden Schroeder says they are passionate about developing young people and enthusiastic about creating a festival which celebrates many mediums of street art.

Street Prints Otautahi will follow directly on from Street Prints Mauao in Mount Maunganui and embrace all forms of street art, from the visual art of mural and graffiti painting to street dance, music and theatre. It will feature young performers hailing from Christchurch groups.

Ogden Schroeder says there will be ample opportunity for aspiring young people to get involved, with an ambitious mentoring programme planned for aspiring young artists who will be offered a chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity to work closely with some of the best artists in the world.   

She says the visiting artists are excited by the idea of mentoring a young person to learn artistic techniques, be inspired, work in an ethical way and most of all to discover that talent can be nurtured to create future career pathways in the arts.

“We are enormously grateful to the generosity of the artists – they are happy to give their time and expertise to develop younger artists and at the same time are gifting art to our city and our people."

The YMCA will liaise with local high schools, youth agencies and tangata whenua in order to select young people for the artist mentoring programme. There will also be opportunities for many more young people to be involved in a range of ways. A free wall will be available for anyone to make their mark in the week between Christmas and New Year.

The full festival programme will be released later in the year but it promises to include artist talks, debates, competitions, exhibits and workshops, which will include a range of street art disciplines and inspire and engage people of all ages.

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