Christchurch street art exhibition pulls crowds

WELCOME TO CHRISTCHURCH: Street art is going up around the city, including this piece by Dcypher on Welles Street.
KIRK HARGREAVES / Fairfax NZ

WELCOME TO CHRISTCHURCH: Street art is going up around the city, including this piece by Dcypher on Welles Street.

Street artists from all over the world have created new colourful work on walls in Christchurch's city centre, attracting thousands of people.

The public flocked to see the first weekend of the SPECTRUM street art festival in Christchurch.

The festival opened on Friday night at the YMCA on Hereford St and the Canterbury Museum, showcasing work by some of the best street artists, one of the largest Banksy collections in the world and a unique collection of 800 T-shirts.

HARD TO MISS: A work by Buff Monster on the corner of St Asaph Street and Durham Street.
Dean Kozanic

HARD TO MISS: A work by Buff Monster on the corner of St Asaph Street and Durham Street.

About 6700 people attended the Canterbury Museum, which is hosting the T-Shirts Unfolding exhibition, on Saturday and Sunday. The SPECTRUM street art exhibition at the YMCA building attracted about 2300 people.

The opening comes as a $1 million grant almost guarantees Christchurch will have a permanent street art exhibition in the YMCA building.

The grant from the Todd Foundation will help fund the world's first custom-built street art museum, which will have a collection of street art on permanent public display, including work by British street artist Banksy.

EYE-CATCHING: A work by Sofles on St Asaph Street.
DEAN KOZANIC / Fairfax NZ

EYE-CATCHING: A work by Sofles on St Asaph Street.

The facility will also include a 200-seat theatre for community theatre and dance groups, and will host community art workshops, art programmes for young people and artists in residence.

The fit-out of the building will cost $8m. About $3m has been raised.

YMCA Christchurch chief executive Josie Ogden Schroeder said the $1m grant meant the new facility was likely to go ahead.

"This will kickstart the rest of our funding now. It means the project will happen," she said.

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"There is a lot more understanding of what we are doing now. It is hard to raise the money when you have to explain it in words. Now people have seen what we are doing and understand."

Canterbury Museum director Anthony Wright said that only 10 of the 6700 people who attended the T-shirt exhibition on Saturday and Sunday complained about the inclusion of a controversial T-shirt by heavy metal band Cradle of Filth.

The T-shirt features explicit imagery and the slogan "Jesus is a c...". It is on display separately from the main collection in a special cubicle behind a guarded cordon with a warning that has to be read before it can be viewed.

Wright said about 10 per cent of visitors chose to view the T-shirt.

 - The Press

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