The art of the journey: New Coastal Arts Trail launches alongside Gallery-Camper
The new Coastal Arts Trail is an easy, self-driving, art-lovers’ tour across the lower West Coast of the North Island. The country’s newest, and largest regional arts tourism experience features over 50 stops, thanks to a unique collaboration between the Manawatū, Whanganui, and Taranaki regions.
The Trail takes visitors through an eclectic mix of public art, street art, galleries and museums, as well as off-the-beaten-track studios and creative rural communities. This new art explorer road trip showcases the incredible variety of creativity on offer, redefining what it means to take the scenic route.
With the creative spirit of the trail in mind, the Coastal Arts Trail has partnered with Quirky Campers NZ to design the ultimate trail companion, a world first gallery-camper. This is an art-immersive campervan, purpose-built and designed for the trail, and it will be available for public booking. That is, of course, after it’s been named: members of the public are encouraged to send suggestions. Will it be Vinnie Van Go? Artie? Vallery, or something else?
Curator Aimée Ralfini has been appointed to lead the creative development of the Gallery-Camper. On the maiden journey along the Coastal Arts Trail, Ralfini will collect pieces that highlight the incredible work New Zealand artists have to offer in these regions, for installation in the campervan
“Art has the ability to change the way we experience the world around us,” says Ralfini.
“A campervan designed specifically for a regional art trail presents a unique opportunity to view the world through a creative lens.”
Bringing art outside of the traditional ‘white cube’ space, the Gallery-Camper is a good fit for Ralfini, who’s passionate about strengthening the role art plays beyond the gallery. This passion led her to pave the way for New Zealand artists in mainstream and social media. Her visual arts activation platform Art Ache similarly disrupts conventional ways of engaging with art,using events, digital billboard campaigns, podcasts, and other tools to, as she puts it, ‘strengthen New Zealand’s creative muscle’.
Building the first Gallery-Camper, then, might not be too far out of character. For Ralfini, “it breaks all the rules, about where we think art should be, and how we interact with art. And that’s a good thing.”