AUCKLAND, Wednesday: Following a competitive pitch process, CBD-based indie agency HeyYou was appointed by three regional development agencies to launch New Zealand’s newest and largest arts tourism experience, The Coastal Arts Trail.
The Central Economic Development Agency (Manawatū), Whanganui and Partners, and Venture Taranaki have worked collaboratively to develop an art trail across the lower west coast of the North Island, taking in over 50 stops across an eclectic range of galleries and studios.
Highlights along the way include visits to world-renowned galleries such as the Govett-Brewster’s Len Lye centre, as well as off-the-beaten track studios, and hands-on workshops: blowing glass at Whanganui’s NZ Glassworks, or a an illustration lesson with Joe McMenamin in Feilding.
For HeyYou’s Fleur Skinner, the launch concept had to tell the story of the artistic vibrancy of the regions, as well as being iconic in its own way.
“The concept of a gallery-camper was first presented in a collaborative strategy workshop with the three regions and it really landed with everyone,” Skinner said.
“The launch concept had to tell the story of the artistic vibrancy of the regions, as well as being iconic in its own way.”
“Here was a way we could cut through in a highly competitive space, and create a distinctive icon for the trail. It would be a literal vehicle for storytelling about this new experience, and not just at launch. The camper will play host to so many more stories as domestic and international travellers alike take her on their own “artventures”.’
“The concept needed a private partner and, like any gallery worth its salt, a curator. Enter Quirky Campers NZ and ArtAche founder Aimée Ralfini. Both took a leap of faith on the ambitious project.
“Once we had everything lined up, the first stage was to announce that we were doing it. Right from the start, we’ve involved the public in Vallery’s creation, including using their help to name her. We wanted people to follow her story.
“So, when Ralfini took the maiden voyage of the trail in January 2022, the story was shared with the media, and across social media in a coordinated takeover of all three regional Instagram accounts. The journey not only gave its audience a taste of what to expect on the trail, but was also the opportunity for Ralfini to collect the art and inspiration for Vallery’s final form.
“The concept needed a private partner and, like any gallery worth its salt, a curator. Enter Quirky Campers NZ and ArtAche founder Aimée Ralfini.”
“With the help of HeyYou and Colab Projects over six months of creative development, production and a few covid-related setbacks, the world’s first art gallery in a campervan is ready to hit the road.
“Vallery now boasts an eclectic range of art works collected from the regions’ galleries, alongside commissions from local artists. But she’s also something of a work of art herself. From the vibrant, ceramic-look exterior to the landscapes printed on curtains and the art objects hidden in drawers, Vallery is just as much an artwork as the 50+ works by 26 different artists in and around the gallery-camper.”
Curator Ralfini has just completed a second tour with Vallery back through the trail, reconnecting with artists, galleries and media for a series of official opening events. While art lovers can take their own vehicles on this easy, self-driving trail, Ralfini says the gallery- camper provides the ultimate experience.
“I love it when art connects with people outside a traditional white box space,” he said. Vallery is a completely immersive art experience, created with art found during my own experience of the Trail. Travellers can sleep under art, dine with art and recline on art, and it’s all integrated in a comfortable and practical way. We have carefully sealed and protected works, and we have translated art onto hard-wearing surfaces and fabrics so people can just relax and have fun.”
- Plan a trip here: coastalartstrail.nz
HeyYou is a creative studio specialising in brand momentum.
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