Boost from IAG helps bring public art to Christchurch

We’re delighted to have Jo Blair as our guest blogger this week.  Jo helped launch and bring together partnerships for Christchurch Art Gallery’s outside art space programme, Populate!, a project part-funded by IAG that has helped bring a much-needed splash of colour to the city.

“I have little knowledge about insurance (except for being from Christchurch where many of us have become something of experts out of necessity!).  But I am delighted to have been invited to guest for IAGNZ’s insurance blog to let people know about a cool initiative that takes art to the people of Christchurch as the city works to get back on its feet following the earthquakes of 2010/11.

My company, Brown Bread Ltd, was contracted by Christchurch Art Gallery to launch and run a campaign with new crowd-funding arts website, Boosted, and we were thrilled to attract the attention and support of IAG in the process.  Their generous donation of $12,000 kicked the campaign into motion, helping the Gallery to exceed its $25,000 target and with that, introduce Populate!, an extension to its Outer Spaces project.

Eyes with child

A young viewer is enthralled by a piece from the Populate! exhibition.

Populate! was launched on 10 May 2013, not only to celebrate the Gallery’s 10th birthday – it has been closed for repairs due to the earthquake since February 2011 – but also to decorate the city with a new wave of public art, all based on faces and strange characters with bursts of humour.  Just what Christchurch needs…

The programme opened with a music party on the street as part of a weekend of free events held across the city.  IAG’s donation specifically funded the creation of an ‘Imagination Playground’ located on the corner of Christchurch’s Tuam and High Street- a creative, interactive play-space concept originally created by award-winning New York architect David Rockwell.  It features giant foam building blocks and on that opening weekend, a total of 2,000 children played with the foam shapes; building their very own cityscapes and works of art.

Music accompanied the launch of Populate!.

Music accompanied the launch of Populate!.

The giant foam blocks at the Imagination Playground have proved an instant hit with the children of Christchurch.

The giant foam blocks at the Imagination Playground have proved an instant hit with people of all ages in Christchurch.

Today, Populate! continues to run in Christchurch with works of art including murals and sculptures dotted around the city.  Some of the artists involved include Tony Oursler, Jess Johnson, Roger Boyce, Ronnie van Hout, Mark Braunias, Peter Stichbury and Gregor Kregar.  More ‘faces’ of art are still to come, so keep an eye on the Gallery’s own excellent blog, Bunker Notes, to be kept in the loop on what’s new. 

Everyone was invited to festivities held to celebrate the launch of Populate! and Christchurch Art Gallery's 10th birthday.

Everyone was invited to festivities held to celebrate the launch of Populate! and Christchurch Art Gallery’s 10th birthday.

Blocks 1

Some 2,000 Christchurch children enjoyed the Imagination Playground on its opening weekend.

It’s been a pleasure bringing IAG and Christchurch Art Gallery together on this project and everyone involved hopes that more quality gob-smacking art will hit the streets over the next two years as the Gallery works towards re-opening its building in 2015.  Good on IAG for being bold and backing creativity and comment.  Christchurch is grateful.”

About Jo

Jo Blair

Through her company Brown Bread, Jo Blair specialises in bringing to life ideas that help integrate brands with communities.  Her previous projects include NZ Ice Fest – a month long programme aimed at encouraging Christchurch families to learn about and engage with Antarctica.  She was also the Executive Director of Christchurch’s SCRIT World Buskers for three years.  Prior to this, Jo worked as the Events Development Manager for Christchurch City Council.

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