What would it take to establish a festival of light art in the Bay of Plenty? How are other cities using digital tools like projection mapping and augmented reality to tell stories and create wonder? What if we gathered a few leading creative producers and technologists, then invited our community to learn more. What if we all sat down and started a conversation? On 9 September at Trinity Wharf in Tauranga, Creative Bay of Plenty will do just that. Local artists, cultural organisations, and civic leaders are invited to start a conversation about art, technology, and community.
"Our organisation serves as a creative touchstone across the Bay of Plenty, supporting local artists, advancing the sector, and connecting people, ideas, and opportunities," says Eric Holowacz, General Manager. "And sometimes we serve as an instigator and driver of new ideas. In this case—helping the local community explore light, art, technology, and new forms of public art—we want to stoke the fire."
To do that Creative Bay of Plenty is convening a free information session with Rob Appierdo, founder and creative director of Wellington-based Storybox, as an opportunity to explore art and technology. Appierdo will highlight international trends in interactive public art, discuss recent light art projects and festivals across Aotearoa, and reveal some of his own pioneering work with digital art and technology. Recent Storybox installations include the water screen project Mana Moana, and the July 2020 projection mapping of Te Papa for Wellington's Matariki celebrations.
"There are some amazing creative platforms out there and extraordinary digital tools for artists—Rob and his team are right there pushing the boundaries of public art, new technology, and community storytelling," says Holowacz. "Our upcoming session will provide a look at what might be possible, and maybe light some new creative fires in the Bay of Plenty."
The 9 September presentation will be followed by an opportunity to ask questions, learn more about digital public art trends, and get involved with future projects in Tauranga and the Western Bay communities. Attendees should be prepared to ask a few important questions. What would a Bay of Plenty Light Art Festival look like? How could a 2021 project benefit the local sector? How would Tauranga's creative people add their own artistic statements, tell local stories, and expand the sense of wonder for everyone?
"This is a start, a gathering around the fire," says Holowacz. "Creative Bay of Plenty are like the kindling, asking the burning questions and inviting the community to help answer them. With Storybox we want to spark a little conversation that might just lead to something big."
The 9 September workshop is free and begins at 1pm at the Trinity Wharf Hotel in Tauranga. Those interested in attending can register at this link, or email Creative Bay of Plenty for additional information.
Creative Bay of Plenty is one of New Zealand's leading regional arts and culture organisations. The non-profit organisation was initially established in 1969 as the Tauranga Community Arts Council to support the growth of the creative sector—and has been doing that ever since. Now based at The Kollective, the small CBOP team promotes local artists and organisations, supports cultural identity and civic developments, offers networking opportunities, and advocates for creative placemaking and community engagement. Under the direction of General Manager Eric Holowacz, the organisation provides leadership on the delivery of the Arts and Culture Strategy Toi Moana, advocates for stronger arts policies and infrastructure, and dreams up new arts, culture, and heritage initiatives. Creative Bay of Plenty receives important operational funding from both the Tauranga City Council and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council to serve the cultural wellbeing of the region. They work closely with other organisations like Tauranga Art Gallery, Western Bay Museum, Baycourt Theatre, local festivals, educators, and civic partners like Downtown Tauranga and Tourism Bay of Plenty. The trustees, team, and partners continue to find new ways to make the Bay of Plenty more interesting expressive.