MainARTery, which for a decade was Wairarapa's only open studio art trail, is winding down. An exhibition of past and present artists called 'Moment and Movement' at Aratoi next month will mark the occasion.
The collective was started by a group of local artists in 2006 and kicked off with a group show at an artspace on Main St, Carterton. The aim was to represent the region's working artists and give the public the chance to meet them in their own creative environments.
One of the 'early adopters' was Carterton painter Jan Eagle who says the vision fitted well with what she was doing at the time: 'I'd been running classes from home so my studio was well set up to have visits from the public, and MainARTery flowed on from that very successfully. It gave me a profile and it worked for many of us who were on a limited budget to be able to pool funds for a website and other promotions.'
MainARTery grew to include sculptors, furniture makers, illustrators, printmakers, painters, jewelers, potters and a stained glass artist – all of whom worked along the ‘main artery' of State Highway 2, extending from Greytown to Eketahuna. There were 18 participating artists by 2011, when the group exhibited at Expressions, Upper Hutt.
Eagle is currently facilitating the illuminated steel 'Te Kouka’ sculpture being created by fellow former MainARTery artist Niko Thomsen and due to be installed at Stella Bull Park, Greytown, by Christmas.
Greytown painter and illustrator Sandra Wong was also there at the start of the group, devising the name and the eye-catching 'arterial' heart logo that was displayed at participating artists' studios. Since then she has moved from working from home, being based at the former Leftfield, north of Greytown, and now to having her own permanent studio and gallery called Kotare on Greytown's Main Street.
'MainARTery encouraged collaboration which was great as many of us were working in isolation,' she says. Alongside her own work, Wong displays art by past members Sean Crawford, Niko Thomsen and Mark Dimock at Kotare, proving that the bonds forged 10 years ago are still strong.
'MOMENT AND MOVEMENT' - MainARTery artists' collective, Wairarapa, Aratoi, 14 October - 27 November.
Sandra Wong outside Kotare Studio & Gallery.