Saturday, 04 July 2020


Expanded Art Escape is a winner with artists and visitors

A creative feast was served up once again in the Coromandel courtesy of a highly successful and dynamic Mercury Bay Art Escape which officially came to a close on Sunday last.

Open studios, exhibitions, workshops, artists in residence and community events combined to create a rich programme that showcased the diverse range of skills and talents within our artistic communities. Painting, sculpture, weaving, mosaic, photography, pottery, carving and glasswork were among the wide variety of artforms showcased and celebrated. Art Escape Trust chairman, Ian Preece, said it had been an exciting year for the event as it evolved into a wider festival with more opportunities for both artists and art lovers to get involved.

“First of all, a really big thank you to the visitors, artists, partners and awesome sponsors for supporting the 2020 Mercury Bay Art Escape. From the opening sell out night at Hot Waves Café on 6 March, right through to the very last minutes of the final open studios day, the atmosphere has been amazing,” he said. Welcoming several new contributing artists, along with the establishment of  wider community connections were among this year’s successes.

“We expanded the format this year to increase the appeal throughout the week which has been very well received by our visitors. Events included Paint and Platter at Lost Springs, artists in residence at Hot Waves Café between the Open Studio weekends, an exhibition of Himalayan photographs at the Coghill Centre, the exhibition at Kua Kawhe in Kuaotunu, the music night at the Tairua Golf and Country Club and the Meet the Artists night at Hotties with celebrity chef Ben Bayly. They have all been very well attended with great feedback from everyone who came. We are very excited about starting to plan next year’s Art Escape,” said Ian.

While artists up and down the peninsula had still to provide official visitor numbers for the two weekends of Open Studios, Ian said those he had spoken to had enjoyed welcoming lots of visitors and benefited from significant sales. The chairman also emphasised that, although Art Escape had come to a close, there were still opportunities for interested members of the public to connect with the artists and their work.

“If you’re interested in viewing our artists’ work check out the Showcase Exhibition at Hot Waves Cafe which runs until 13 April. Alternatively, many of the artists open their studios by appointment and their contact details can be found on the Festival of Art Guide and online at,” he advised.

Pictured: Whitianga’s Raewyn Hildreth hosted a flax weaving workshop at her home as part of a highly successful Chasing Mercury workshop series, held as part of the Art Escape Festival of Art.


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