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Ara Helps Light Up Christchurch’s City At Night This July

Ara Design School's 'Reflections' design for 'CHCH IS LIT'
Christchurch City Council CHCH IS LIT banner
Ara Takes Part in July's CHCH IS LIT Art Happening


Tim Budgen from Ara Art and Design will be re-vamping his mesmerizing LED art installation piece ‘Reflections’, with the help of Ara Motion Design students, as a part of the Christchurch City Council’s July-long ‘CHCH IS LIT’ art happening.

The Art & Design department have been involved in Botanic D'Lights - another popular lighting festival the Council runs - over the last few years, designing a variety of light and video works. The biennial festival has been postponed until June 2021 due to COVID-19, with the gap being filled by a new format festival entitled ‘CHCH IS LIT.’

Sheena Baines, Events Manager at Spectrum Lighting & Sound, has in the past supported Ara entries during her tenure as Director of Botanic D’Lights. This year, she has had her proposal accepted to produce a new version of ‘Reflections’, Tim’s 2016 design for Botanic D'Lights, which employs an LED video wall, designed to be appreciated while it is suspended above water.

The piece will be installed in early July on the Avon River opposite the Oxford Terrace strip, one of more than 20 sites around the CBD and New Brighton that will illuminate the dark winter month with a stunning series of light and video/projection artworks. 

Christchurch companies and artists have created the installations, which will be visible in Victoria Square, Friendship Corner (the grass area opposite Riverside Market), the Park of Remembrance (on the Avon River opposite The Terraces), Cathedral Square, City Mall and on New Brighton Pier.

The ‘CHCH IS LIT’ event will, in addition to providing inspiring light-based art works for city pedestrians to view, hopefully help to lift the spirits of business owners and offer support to them during the trying times brought about by COVID-19. 

Lucy Blackmore, Council’s Events and Arts Manager, recently commented in the CCC’s Newsline publication from May 18th 2020  “With events and gatherings at a minimum, we wanted to look at new and innovative ways to connect with the Christchurch public, as well as providing some support to the local arts and events industry which has been hit hard.”

Tim Budgen of Ara says “While it’s a shame that Botanic D’Lights isn’t possible this year, I’m very pleased that Sheena has helped the Motion Design students and me become involved with the new ‘CHCH IS LIT’ format. It’s a great opportunity to revisit my earlier piece, and light up a corner of the river in town during what can be a cold dark month.”

The Ara design school has some other exciting exhibitions planned for the rest of the year, including the Applied Visual Arts exhibition in the Artbox from July the 28th to August the 8th, the  ‘Contact’ mid-year exhibition with work from all years and specialisations from August the 13th to September the 10th and ‘Pitch’, the Graduate exhibition, which will be running from November the 10th to 22nd.


Contact details: 
Kate Bailey,

Written by

Ara Institute of Canterbury Ltd

25 Jun 2020