A new sculpture garden at the Ruapehu Community Arts Centre has been given the green light. Members of the Taumarunui Ohura Ward Committee voted unanimously for the project which the chair, Karen Ngatai described as “fabulous.”
Treasurer, Celia Martin said the upgrade was not to do with making a profit but to encourage more people to use the centre. Councillor Adie Doyle questioned if future maintenance would be an issue but Martin said the committee would help maintain the gardens, including the sign.
The Ruapehu Community Arts Council is working through a range of plans with the Ruapehu District Council. The committee hopes to have the garden completed within six months. It is planned to remove the Rhododendrons and shrubs from the front of the building to make way for a visually appealing art garden.
The front of the building will be opened up to discourage squatters from sleeping on the deck which was a regular concern with the committee. The upgrade would include painting the building, removal of lichen and moss from the roof and a mural on the side door.
Chair, Judith Mayer said the centre had not been utilised to its fullest over the past years and she hoped the upgrade would attract visitors to the centre. “Our focus is to promote it as a useable venue for community events including meetings, exhibitions, social events and group displays.”
Local artists will be approached to submit designs for the sculptural pieces which will be based on the river theme. Installation will take place as soon as the rhododendrons are removed in autumn.
Secretary, Myra Lowe said the garden will be a visual display and there were no plans to add lights to the art installations. Mayer said she was keen to have a perennial, scented garden with a pathway but they would have to wait. She was glad the changes would help bring visitors, including locals, to the centre. “People can’t hide behind it and throw their rubbish. “The rhododendrons never stay miniature and there’s a saying in this town that everything you plant here grows at least three foot taller than it says.”
Story by Frances Ferguson – Stuff