Budding artists have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with established professionals visiting the River City for the Whanganui Walls Street Art Festival.

Students from year 12 to tertiary level can apply for the Youth Mentor Programme created in partnership between the festival organisers and Whanganui & Partners.

Six will be selected following applications and they will each be assigned to one of the visiting artists who will act as a mentor to them from March 28 to 31.

The mentorees will get to produce a sketch which they will then paint on to a collaborative wall provided to them as part of the festival.


The idea for the programme was mentioned by town regeneration project leader Ellen Young and strategic lead - education and youth Hannah Kelly liked it.

"The international artists visiting for the street art festival are professionals with an amazing array of experiences, skills and talent," Kelly said.

"We wanted to give budding Whanganui artists the chance to learn from and be inspired by these artists to grow their own skills and abilities and continue the legacy of street art locally."

Mentoring artists include New Zealand's Elliot Francis Stewart and Gina Kiel, the Netherlands' Amok Island, UK's Hayley Welsh, Australia's Claire Foxton and Pat Perry from the US.

Applications for the programme close on Sunday, February 24 and the six successful applicants will be confirmed on February 28.

Kelly said the programme would benefit everyone involved.

"It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to work alongside a professional artist and we hope this grows these mentorees' skills and inspires them to continue on their creative arts journey.

"It is also really supporting town regeneration, making not-so-attractive walls and spaces become really interesting and vibrant places where people want to be."