Art & creativity  |  24 Nov 2023

A celebration of local arts, culture and creativity - the Block Party brings together neighbouring arts organisations in one huge afternoon.

Across ten locations in four adjacent Central City blocks, the free event on Saturday 25 November offers exhibitions, artist and curator talks, an arts market, free workshops, and live performances.

Christchurch City Council Manager of Events and Arts Lucy Blackmore says the Block Party is a collaboratively produced showcase of the incredible talent in Christchurch for the Ōtautahi Year of the Arts 2023.

“The arts organisations are joining forces to put on a great day out for the public, with activities, displays and experiences lined up from 12 noon until 6pm,” Ms Blackmore says.

“For Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū, it’s the opening of their big exhibition for the summer season, Spring Time is Heart-Break: Contemporary Art in Aotearoa, while across the road on the green space at 27 Worcester Boulevard, one of the artists featured in the exhibition – Pricilla Rose-Howe – along with SCAPE Public Art, will present an art-making picnic and workshop.

“Also at the green, craft lovers can try their hand at crochet and ‘yarn bombing’ – street art made of yarn – in a session led by Gap Filler called Yarnarchy,” Ms Blackmore says.

“An exhibition to check out at Toi Auaha Community Arts Hub is titled Pūrākau and features well-known local artists – it’s been curated by Pia Hill who’s just 8 years old. The carpark there will also have a mobile carving unit where well-renowned artist and carver Jon Jeet and his team will teach people how to make their own simple pounamu carving.”

An arts market is being hosted at Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre, with the nearby D-Lawn playing stage to a range of live performances, including a Melanesian cultural showcase, upcoming singer-songwriters, and the Showbiz Christchurch musical theatre choir, Showstoppers.

Canterbury Museum at CoCA are showcasing their exhibition called Six Extinctions, and The Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities, are offering free drawing workshops (registration essential).

Other participating organisations include Ravenscar House Museum, Toi Moroki Centre of Contemporary Art, Papa Hou at The Kind Foundation (formerly the YMCA) and The Physics Room.

“The Block Party will be a chance to see, experience or try something new and to support and celebrate our local artists and organisations. Bring your friends and whānau and get around as many places as you can,” Ms Blackmore says.

Ōtautahi Year of the Arts 2023 is an initiative developed by the Christchurch Arts Audience Development (CAAD) group and Toi Ōtautahi, designed to highlight the importance of art and culture and to celebrate the creativity in our city’s art scene.

Find more information about the Block Party here.