Many an idea was conceived during last year's lockdown and this weekend sees the fruition of one involving local artists, suburban gardens and the public.
Art in the Garden derived from a group of Whau Valley neighbours keen to support local artists impacted by Covid through showcasing their work in their own backyards.
The event, which kicks off today, is hosted on two expansive adjacent Bedlington St properties including last year's Garden Discovery hit Waimoana Gardens and bed and breakfast owned by Sue Russell and adjoining gardens of Mike and Andrea Cameron with Mike's art studio also open to the public. They will display more than 200 artworks for sale by local artists.
Bedlington St resident artist and sculptor Trish Clarke is one of the three organisers and said that with lockdown and Covid cancellations, she was worried for the fate of local artists over the following year.
"I personally had six shows cancelled due to Covid in 2020, with a couple of them being the bigger sculpture shows in Auckland that I normally rely on for sales.
"We have local artists and beautiful gardens so we thought we could run a show to support local."
The idea derived after Mike's wife Andrea began a Facebook page to socially connect and engage the neighbourhood during lockdown. Using "socially-distant chat", the page was used for sharing fruit and vegetables, locating lost pets and running photo competitions before the idea for Art in the Garden came about.
"[The page] was created to keep the neighbourhood connected and ensure wellbeing for all," explained Clarke. "It included a letterbox drop for those that don't do social media, also connecting the isolated in the street. It has proven to be a great way to connect the neighbourhood socially."
Clarke said the Waimoana Gardens were a huge hit with all visitors at the Garden Discovery and was full of eclectic art and sculpture, rambling pathways, colourful garden beds with numerous ponds and water features.
"There were a good number of art sales on that weekend, and we hope that the public can come and support the new showing."
The outdoor works are from about 30 local artists and include small garden sculptures such as ceramic work through to hanging and large stone and wood sculptures.
"There are some really quirky, colourful pieces and yet traditional sculptures," said Clarke. "We've been really pleasantly surprised with the engagement [from local artists]."
Due to this week's Covid level restrictions, the original planned onsite pop-up cafe had been cancelled. However, Clarke said visitors were welcome to bring their own picnic to have in the gardens.
Art purchases would be left on display for the duration of the three-day event to collect after, with the odd cash and carry exception.
She said the art was reasonably-priced selling to a Northland market.
"It's more about giving local artists a place to exhibit with a low commission as you're not spending money on freight or driving to Auckland for big shows.
"If you missed Garden Discovery and want to enjoy a great couple of hours out, come to Art in the Garden, view the studio of Mike Cameron, and enjoy art, sculpture and gardens."
Art in the Garden is supported by the Whangārei District Council Creative Community Fund and is on today, Saturday and Sunday from 9am-4pm at 30 and 34 Bedlington St, Whau Valley, Whangārei. Entry is by gold coin donation.