Sunday, 28 February 2021


Tickets on sale for Mercury Bay Art Escape’s Gala Opening Night

A contribution by the Mercury Bay Art Escape

It’s one of the favourite social events on the Coromandel’s art scene - the Gala Opening Night of the annual Mercury Bay Art Escape. The gala evening kicks off the start of the artists’ Open Studios around the eastern Coromandel and the Showcase Exhibition featuring one piece of work from every artist involved in the event. This year, it’s happening on Friday, March 5 at 6:00pm at Hot Waves Café, Hot Water Beach.

At the launch party, guests can meet artists and fellow art lovers, and preview work for sale in the Showcase Exhibition before it’s opened up to the public. All enjoyed with a backdrop of live music, canapés and a glass of wine thanks to sponsors, Greywacke wines.

Mercury Bay Art Escape chairman and Kuaotunu photographer, Ian Preece, is looking forward to a great night out. “It’s fantastic bringing together so many interesting people from our creative community,” he says. “Supporters of the arts appreciate the opportunity to meet local artists whose work is on display right in front of them. As making art can be a solitary process, meeting up at our annual gala launch is something I and many other artists really look forward to. I’m also thrilled that the amazing New Zealand glass artist, Di Tocker, is our guest speaker. She’ll be very entertaining and is putting up a beautiful piece for auction on the night.”

Ian recommends getting in quickly to buy tickets as the evening is always a sell-out. They are available on the Mercury Bay Art Escape’s website for only $45,

During this year’s Open Studios, 50 artists are opening up their workspaces on the weekends of 6 and 7 March, and 13 and 14 March. Visitors can plan their own arty road-trip to studios all over the eastern Coromandel Peninsula, from Tairua to Rings Beach. It’s a free event and an excellent way to explore our own back yard.

Ian says the Open Studios are a great experience for artists and the public alike. “For the artists, it’s so nice to engage with members of the public and to answer questions about how we do things, what tools and equipment we use and to talk about work-in-progress,” he says. “And visitors really do enjoy getting a proper look inside the artists’ workspaces, to see what sort of environment they’ve created, to ask about how they learn and practise their craft and to buy something directly from the maker.”

The artists opening their studios include flax weavers, furniture makers, jewellers, glass and mosaic artists, painters, photographers, potters, printmakers, sculptors, and woodworkers.

A piece from each artist will be on display in the Showcase Exhibition at Hot Waves Café from Saturday, 6 March until Easter Monday.

For more information about the individual artists and for maps and guides to design your own self-drive art tour, look on the Mercury Bay Art Escape website, There are also lots of photos on the Art Escape’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

The Mercury Bay Art Escape organisers would like to thank these local businesses for their generous support - Bayleys, The BreezeMagicMORE FMThe Mercury Bay Informer, Guthrie Bowron, New Zealand Holiday HomesHot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday ParkRennie Cox, Lawyers Sunlover Retreat, The Pourhouse and Hotties Beachfront Eatery.

Pictured: Whenuakite artist, Gary Nevin, one of the participants in this year’s Mercury Bay Art Escape Open Studios.


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