A new "art walk" app has launched in Tauranga, with the aim of better connecting the public to local artists and their stories.
"Tauranga city centre has a number of amazing artworks that have been created over the last 30 years," Tauranga arts adviser Sonya Korohina said.
"But the artworks have maybe become background to people when they walk past them. There's no 'in' to them and in fact, they've just become wallpaper.
"I recognised a real need for an app, almost as a love note to the city to enable people to discover more about the stories about the artworks and to start moving around the city, having a new appreciation and seeing these artworks with fresh eyes."
The self-guided tour takes around an hour to complete and features 20 works of art found in Tauranga's CBD, side streets and laneways.
The app is aimed at everyone – including local school children.
"What we're trying to do is grow our audience, and work with different demographics," said Korohina.
"It was great to see them taking the experience they had within the Tauranga Art Gallery where they were creating artwork, out on to the street where they met Kelcy Taratoa who talked to them about his practice creating public artworks. And then they took the app and went round public artworks and learnt more about the works in the city."
Tauranga Art Gallery hopes the app will reach people who might not visit an art gallery.
"The app's a wonderful accompaniment to a number of the activities that Tauranga Art Gallery has developed in recent years," said gallery director Stephen Cleland.
"We've worked with artists such as Askew to take our programme out of the gallery and on to the streets so it can reach a larger audience.
"We also recently partnered with the city council to identify Kelcy Taratoa as a key artist to create a ginormous mural in the Masonic Park. The app is a really wonderful way to enable better access to the cultural fabric around the city - from artists' temporary projects to artists' more permanent ongoing exhibitions."
Local businesses are also set to benefit.
"In developing the app we wanted to develop it as a cultural tourism tool," said Korohina. "So if it's your first visit to Tauranga and you were going around you, might want to know where to eat and drink, or where a gallery is, or where a cinema is."
Future updates are already being planned.
"As more artworks, like Kelcy Taratoa's, are installed within the city centre, they're going to be added to the app too, so it can only grow and our community can keep on dipping in over and over again to the experience."
The City Art Walk app is available for free thanks to Creative New Zealand and local law firm Cooney Lees Morgan. It has English and te Reo Māori options.
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