Local artists enliven TECT Arena

By Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell

The stunning TECT Arena at Baypark, officially opened on August 26, is one of the most versatile and multipurpose venues in New Zealand. The TECT Baypark Arena has been built specifically for the Western Bay community to use and enjoy and a selected group of local artists was invited to submit a variety of work for this new state of the art building.

The criteria for the submissions of art for the new TECT Baypark Arena Art Collection were clear. A variety of media and art forms were required, to be produced by local professional or emerging artists. It was important that the artworks depicted images that are representative of the local area or the activities that take place at the Arena, which are mainly sports, entertainment and corporate events.

The final selection was made by an evaluation panel made up of two Tauranga City Council staff members, the director of the Tauranga Art Gallery and John Beech, Creative Tauranga's Community Arts Adviser.

"The response was great and the quality of the work submitted is extremely high," says John.

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"It is now part of the Civic Art Collection and the Baypark Arena is a fantastic public space to have these artworks displayed".

Throughout the two-storey building, people can admire work by talented carver James Atutahi, surrealist painter Simone Anderson, abstract artists Doreen McNeill and mixed media specialist Graham Crow, Maori artist Linda Munn plus work by abstract landscape artist Tallulah Belle Lautrec-Nunes.

"James Atutahi, for instance, has created a fantastic wood carving that spells the word 'waka'. It looks amazing on the wall. And also look out for the massive wall painting by aerosol artist Mr G, also known as Graham Hoete. Mr G spraypainted it straight onto the concrete wall, and it's an impressive piece of street art that fits the sporting theme of the arena very well," says John.

Other contributors are Timo Rannali, known for his colourful murals and Lois Isaacs, who has submitted the largest canvas artwork of her life for this special project.

Pieces from local photographers Andy Belcher and Ken Wright are also on the walls of the Baypark Arena. Ken Wright, from Lightwave Photography located at The Cargo Shed, has submitted a collection of seven canvases of the Matapihi Bridge, a local landmark, locked together with an aluminium and steel structure.

"This has been a unique project for me and has opened the door to explore a more art-based approach to my work. I have spent 30 years as a graphic designer, illustrator and now photographer, so to be able to combine all these aspects of my career in one work was a pleasure," says Ken.

What is so special about the art works at the TECT Baypark Arena is that they are brought together by the very best of our local artists. And a major project like this has truly brought out the best in them.

"It is either sporting-themed work, as the TECT Baypark Arena is predominantly a sporting venue, or it is art that depicts life here in the Bay," says John.

"The arena has different areas that require different themes. Most of the second floor will cater for corporate functions so the art work chosen for this area reflects that.

"The main foyer and other areas now feature artwork that celebrates the whole range of the Western Bay community."

Make sure you enjoy this fabulous visual display next time you are visiting the arena, and also take in the wonderful pou outside, carved by Dean Flavell and called Tamapahore.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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