A Whanganui artist who drew attention after engraving glass panels on a Castlecliff bus shelter has launched her career as a fulltime artist, with another public art piece set to open this month.
Claire Bell has received a number of private commissions across the country since she first completed her work on the glass panels of the Rangiora St shelter, including a new-build in Taranaki where Bell will work on engraved powder room mirrors.
A second piece of public art is set to be opened in Whanganui later this month, when a further two engraved glass panels will be installed on two Taupo Quay intercity bus shelters.
Bell said the idea for the art "came about during the Covid-19 lockdown, when I was cycling up near Golf Vue Rd in Castlecliff and saw a family of hares in a field".
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"So one of the Taupo Quay bus shelters features a daytime scene with a tortoise travelling through the Ruapehu region to Whanganui, and the other features a night-time scene with a hare resting by the awa. Inspired by the race in Aesop's fable, my idea is that there are different kinds of visits to our city, fast and slow, and both kinds of visits are enjoyable.
"The hare and the tortoise represent the visitors or travellers in the design; the rest of it features the local flora and fauna they encounter on their journeys."
Bell said the appeal in public art came down to its accessibility.
"Instead of having to choose to go into a gallery to view art, people can admire it in the public domain. It brings that artistic energy out into the open."
• Everyone is welcome to book to attend the blessing for the new artwork at the bus shelters at 23 Taupo Quay on Saturday, June 12, at 2pm.
After the blessing, the group will move across the road to a classroom at UCOL where Bell will give a short presentation about her glass engraving.