(Highlights of the Katikati Open Air Art President, Steve Grayson’s AGM Report)
2020 has been one of the most eventful years in not only our history, but our nations and the worlds for quite a while. The world we currently live in is so different from the world of a year ago. Who would have thought a year ago that world travel would have ground to a halt, and that the tourism industry would be just about non-existent and struggling to survive. With no one knowing when it will recover or what the new normal will look like, it has become a challenge for everyone, just to survive.
During 2020 Katikati Open Air Art started to implement some of our long term plans, goals and structures, something we have talked about for a long time. The first of these, and one that was a major step for KOAA, after 30 years of utilising the skills and time of volunteers was the employment of a part-time employee. So at the beginning of the year and working with Katch Katikati, the committee welcomed Fiona Powell to the team.
Last year has also seen the continued collaboration of us working with other organisation’s on a number of our projects. The first was the Kauri Protection project. KOAA worked with the Department of Conservation, Katch Katikati and the Western Bay Museum along with a number of other local groups and iwi to celebrate the story of the Katikati Kauri tree in our region. We wanted to also inform the community of the issue of Kauri dieback. The weeklong festival finished with the dedication of our newest mural, #76 ‘Te Wao Tapu Nui O Tane Mahuta, the Domain of Tane’ in July, 2019. It was painted on the outside entrance walls of The Arts Junction building by Shane Walker. Our thanks to the Department of Conservation for funding this project.
The next big project was the 2019 New Zealand Mural and Arts Festival. Our seventh festival theme was “Life is not what it Seems”, with the festival now established itself as a great event to be part of. The standard of artist was again very high, with two artists from Australia entering. The 2019 winning mural was from one of those Australian artists, Annette Matthews with her mural titled ‘Lost in a Cuboid’ which displayed her amazing talent with an air brush. The winning sculpture was by Peter Cramond, titled ‘Side by side together’. The festival again attracted huge community support and showcased the variety of talented artists and art mediums we have in our community. We thank Katch Katikati, all our many sponsors, supporters and volunteers for again stepping up and helping create this amazing event.
After the Katikati Rugby club mural had been put on hold in 2018, and with the club planning their 140th celebrations over Queens Birthday weekend in 2020. Work began on preparing the boards in December 2019, with the chosen artist Jason Manukau arriving in February to start painting. Unfortunately the arrival of Covid-19 saw Jason who had returned to Australia being unable to return to complete the project, so at this stage the mural is again on hold. As for the book and museum exhibition, these were both launched in early September as part of our collaborative work with the Western Bay Museum.
The highlight of finally finding a new home last year for the ‘Our People, Our Story’ mural, beautifully repainted by Elizabeth Kyle, was short lived, because of the harsh conditions the mural was facing. Even though it had been coated with a protective coating, it deteriorated much faster than we expected, so we had to take the step of removing the original mural before it was too damaged and replacing it with the vinyl reproduction, this project happened just before Christmas. Again our thanks to the Western Bay Museum, Mark Rickard from Acumen Construction and 1st Signs for helping make this project happen.
We also installed the winning bike rack outside the museum, a legacy of the NZ Mural Festival Bike rack competition. A big thanks to the WBOPDC for their support, something I hope we can add too in the future. As well, we are working with WBOPDC and other organisations on the upgrade of the reserve on the corner of Park and Beach roads, a project to look forward to seeing what eventuates.
In 2020 the opportunity arose to install the newly framed Geoffrey Fuller submission, ‘Those Who Served’ in the new entrance to the Memorial Hall. We thank the Katikati RSA and Hall committee for helping fund this project.
There are also a number of other projects we are currently working on around the town, but that’s something for next year and something to look forward too.
Our goal is to keep Katikati Open Air Art alive, innovative and sustainable. It is in these times, that the Arts especially have a very important role in our community and the people who live in it. Not only are the Arts financially beneficial, and make the place pleasant to live in or visit, but it’s also becoming a well-known fact that the Arts are great for our well-being and our health. But that’s something we in Katikati have known for 30 years.
Even though this year has been a very different one, we can still celebrate 30 years of hard work, give ourselves a pat on the back and enjoy the many great and rewarding projects, events and opportunities we and many others have delivered. Our challenge is to ensure that what has been achieved over the last 30 years, continues for the next 30.