Art, music and food will come together this Thursday for the Colour the Night festival.

Now in its second year, the one-night arts event dreamt up by Imogen Stockwell, the community engagement co-ordinator at the Arts Village, will celebrate local people in local spaces.

The idea for the festival came from Miss Stockwell's internship at the Arts Village last year.

She did the internship as part of her Master's degree in museum and heritage studies at Victoria University, Wellington.


Colour the Night is based on the Nuit Blanche ("white night") concept, an annual all-night summer arts event that began in Paris and is now found in cities throughout the world.

"I started with that loose concept and then had to translate it to winter," said Miss Stockwell. "It's a chance for local people to check out what's happening in a free and approachable environment."

Entry to all spaces and performances at Colour the Night is free, including the Rogue Lounge Live Music event although it requires people to register in advance.

As last year was a "raging success", Miss Stockwell hopes for the same on Thursday. "If we can achieve what we did last year, I'll be happy. I know what to expect a bit more this year."

Ten organisations and businesses are involved with lots of groups helping out. For example, the Rotorua Youth Centre is donating their sound equipment for the night.

Tutanekai St's Helium Gallery, a contemporary New Zealand art gallery with a focus on local art, is among the businesses taking part. Owner Sarah Ziessen said there would be live painting from 5.30pm by local multi-disciplinary artist Bridget Thornton, and Bridget would also be talking about her work.

Ms Ziessen said she hoped lots of families would visit the gallery. She said people could be intimidated by contemporary art or the price of it, something she wanted to change.

Miss Stockwell said some places that wanted to be involved but didn't have the capacity or space, such as the Rotorua Library, have found alternative arrangements. The library will take over one of the rooms in the Rotorua Museum for the night.

Other locations will host something different from their usual functions such as art installations in the band rotunda on Queens Drive and musicians playing in the Blue Baths.

The festival is weather-dependent and will be postponed if necessary.

Bigger and better for Light Rotorua

Light Rotorua has been lighting up the city since 2014 and is now expanding.

Rotorua Arts Village is holding Colour the Night, a family-friendly event on Thursday celebrating art, music and performance around the city.

The night market will have extra entertainment and many retailers are staying open until 7pm.

Local retailers are getting into the spirit by decorating their windows in a mid-winter theme, inspired by the light of Matariki, and the idea is that the lights remain up for at least the rest of winter.

"We encourage businesses to take part to highlight their business locations," said Light Rotorua project manager Mandy Godo, who is managing the project on behalf of the Rotorua Lakes Council.

"Rotorua is always extra busy over the school holiday period, and these light displays will encourage more people into the central city during this time."

Pig & Whistle owner Gregg Brown is among those business owners getting into the spirit by upgrading lighting in the large plane tree outside his premises.

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