It’s a busy time for artists in Hawke’s Bay. And art is selling!

Every two years a number of selected exhibitions and award events come together in the spring, meaning many local artists are now working hard to on fresh ideas for new work.

In my area of interest alone (ceramics) we are working towards the UKU Clay 2020 award and exhibition and the Waiohiki Fire and Clay Night as part of the Harcourt’s Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival and the Wildflower Sculpture Exhibition in early November.  EAST exhibition also shows in November at the Hastings City Art Gallery.

Outside the region in Auckland, the Portage Awards and the Sculpture on the Shore call for attention.

Such opportunities drive us to extend ourselves in a way that doesn’t happen without a deadline.  They present our work amongst that of our artist friends and colleagues in fresh events and great venues that are well sought out by the public. The time pressures focus the mind and cannot be missed.

More unexpectedly, since Covid-19 lockdown, the galleries around New Zealand and Australia have been selling art well. The International Art Centre in Auckland is reaching record prices at their fortnightly auctions for iconic New Zealand fine art. And in Napier, Richard Boyd-Dunlop reports that since we reached Level 1, New Zealanders on holiday are wandering into his gallery spaces in considerable numbers to buy art to take home.  Other galleries are reporting the same happy news.

Puzzling. One would intuit that at times of uncertainty the credit cards would be put away and belts tightened.  Whilst there have been no formal surveys, the anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s the foregone overseas holidays that are funding the art buying. Money that would have gone on flights, resorts, cruise ships, expensive hotels in Europe and elsewhere is being invested in paintings and sculpture. ‘It is an ill wind indeed that does no-one good’.

At least for now … before we succumb to a second wave of community spread of Covid-19 infection, local jobs are lost following the end of the wage subsidy. and before the looming effects of a global depression hit.

In the meantime, artists are the unexpected beneficiaries of a community engaged in happy alternatives in a way that gives untold pleasure in owning art and keeps the dollars circulating.

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