It's worked overseas for movies and games and now crowdfunding is being called on to help fund a Wanganui artist's latest work.

The Arts Foundation launched its crowdfunding service, Boosted, on Thursday, enabling anyone to donate to projects by dozens of New Zealand artists.

One of the 22 selected for the Boosted pilot programme was Wanganui painter Sue Cooke, known for her landscapes and spheres and for being one of the first co-ordinators for Whanganui Artists Open Studios.

Her The Paradise Project will look like an Antarctic hut on the outside but when the door is opened the viewer will see a full panorama of an icy wilderness, painted on 29 MDF panels measuring 1m x 3m each.


It will be her largest work since the 22m long Panorama: A Print Based on the Landscape of Lake Ohau, which she finished in 1987 and is now in the collection of the Christchurch Art Gallery.

She said crowdfunding was a great way for people to get involved in and support New Zealand art.

"The thing with crowdfunding is you can donate as much or as little as you want. If five people each donate $100 then you get $500 and it all adds up.

"On Boosted I'm asking for $3700 to cover the cost of actual construction as it has to be built properly. The whole project is budgeted at $28,000 and this will be the last step," Ms Cooke said.

She said was inspired to create Paradise after she travelled to Antarctica in 2006 to sketch and take photos of the landscape. Four years ago she began building the scale concept model, or maquette, for the hut which was based on those of Scott and Shackleton.

"The maquette has been a wonderful tool to show possible donors and gallery owners what it will look like, but I only ever intended for it to be shown to one person so it's falling apart a bit now," Ms Cooke said.

As it had progressed Paradise became more than just a piece of art.

"Looking at Antarctica, it's such a pure place. The more I worked on it the more I came to see it not just as an artwork but also as a catalyst for people to examine what we're doing to the world.


"It's about educating people, especially our kids, on waste minimisation and sustainable living. It doesn't need to be huge changes, even things as simple as kids picking up rubbish on their way to school," Ms Cooke said.

She said a local business had donated damaged plywood panels for the exterior cladding and members of her family had been called in to help move the massive interior panels around her Guyton St studio.

Ms Cooke said her aim was for the installation to tour the country to spread the sustainability message, so the hut would have to be easily disassembled for transport to distant galleries.

The Paradise Project would have its first showing in Wanganui's Sarjeant Gallery from April 28 to August 11.

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