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Funky Flowers

 Christchurch is The Garden City of the World so when venue manager NCC (NZ) Ltd wanted to update artwork in the corporate suites at the Westpac Centre for sport & entertainment it asked local school children to produce funky flowers. The project was also used to link the venue with the neighbourhood schools and the broader community.


When it was time to update artwork and interior design in the corporate suites of the seven year old Westpac Centre, Mike Kelly, Executive Director for venue manager NCC (NZ) Ltd wanted to use the opportunity to involve the local community. Three junior schools nearby were invited to participate in an art competition that saw five and six year old pupils submit drawings of funky flowers.


The teachers and their schools were Christine Berry at Wharenui School, Judy Walker of St Teresa's School and Kate Crabb at Addington School. While the offer of tickets to the winners for upcoming shows at the Town Hall, another venue managed by NCC, came later, the teachers and the parents were as thrilled as the children for the extra surprise. 


"We wanted art work that complemented Christchurch's standing as a multi generational international garden city, and we called it funky flowers because the junior artists were free to draw flowers as they wanted - and we were delighted with the results," Mike Kelly said. "They're fresh and vibrant expressions of how small children perceive flowers - some painted in vases and others in their natural environment or just floating on a colourful background. Some have sprinklings of glitter that twinkle in the light. I think we can boast artwork that would be hard to duplicate anywhere in any arena around the globe."


"We've invited the local schools before to participate in special events, such as the first performance of Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh and the Perfect Day, so we've got some history with the schools. Many of the Funky Flower contest winners attended Disney Live! The painting initiative took it a step further and teachers, schools, pupils and parents have been very positive in their reactions."


On 8 April the 20 prizewinners were invited to bring their parents to see their paintings mounted and exhibited on the walls of the 18 corporate Pacific Suites. Interestingly, the children in the Westpac Centre neighbourhood come from a widely diverse backgrounds, from countries such as Romania and India, as well as around the Pacific. The paintings captured elements of these different backgrounds.


"It was very satisfying to see how excited the young artists were, and how proud they were to show their paintings to their parents. The paintings do look very professional in their black mounting and simple black framing presentation and already we've had corporate guests attending concerts express surprise - and delight - at the source of the art and that the artists were so young."


"During the site tour, the children weren't daunted by the sophistication of the suites. They were just as interested in preparations being made for a Scenic Circle Canterbury Rams basketball game! They loved the huge open spaces, and were soon busy exploring and filling them, running along the rows of seating and milling around on the centre court where their proud parents snapped photographs of them. Just like kids everywhere, I guess."



This item is sent on behalf of

Mike Kelly, CFE
Executive Director
NCC New Zealand Limited
95 Kilmore Street
P O Box 13144

Personal Assistant  - Emma Milne

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