Festival of Glass was 'best ever'

By Anne-Marie Emerson

This year's Wanganui Festival of Glass was the best ever, says an organiser.

The festival finished on Tuesday and organiser Helen Craig said about 600 feedback forms had been collected that were yet to be analysed.

"However, anecdotally, we've heard that people think the festival has been a stand-out. People are saying it's been the best one ever."

Ms Craig said the festival was enhanced by a range of events happening in Wanganui at the same time, including the National Biennial Glass Conference and the National Contemporary Mosaic Art Exhibition.

About 60 people attended the glass conference, which included some glass art "superstars" from Japan, the United States and Australia.

Ms Craig said while the festival attracted many Wanganui glass fans, it was pleasing to see the large number of visitors.

"It's just been fantastic to see how many people have come from outside Wanganui - the numbers have been huge.

"That's one of the things we have been trying to achieve, because out-of-town visitors bring the economic benefits, not only to the artists themselves but to the whole of Wanganui," Ms Craig said.

One of the differences of this year's festival was having the focus away from Victoria Ave and Taupo Quay, where the festival's headquarters were, along with several exhibitions.

Ms Craig said it worked well but next year's festival would also include the regular shop window displays along Victoria Ave.

Although the festival was now officially over, fans still had the opportunity to enjoy plenty of glass in Wanganui, Ms Craig said.

Workshops are still being held this week and the festival's major exhibition is open at the Community Arts Centre until Sunday.

It has works by members of the New Zealand Society of Glass Artists and the Wanganui Glass Group.

Planning for next year's festival would begin almost immediately.

"We will have a debriefing session and then we'll start talking about next year," Ms Craig said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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