Christchurch: 12 exciting things happening in New Zealand's shining new creative hub
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New festivals, thriving arts scene and new gap filler projects see Christchurch as a ‘city reimagined’ after 2011’s earthquake. Just over three years since the February 2011 earthquake, which hit Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island, the gateway to the beautiful Canterbury region is being tagged as a ‘city reimagined’ – and one of the country’s most vibrant and creative hubs. Thriving arts scene One of the most exciting aspects of the regenerating city is its vibrant arts scene. With galleries and art spaces temporarily closed after the earthquake, exhibitions were being shown in makeshift galleries in people’s homes, garages and purpose built modular Art Boxes around the city. As a result, Christchurch is now home to some of the most exciting public art events in New Zealand. Festa 2014 (25th-27th October 2014) - The free annual Festival of Transitional Architecture will be held again this October over Labour Day Weekend transforming Christchurch’s cityscape through a myriad of interventions, events, talks, tours, projects and public participation to bring the transitional city to life. www.festa.org.nz Art Central - Completed in Autumn 2013 as a temporary arts hub, the buzzing Art Central will be the centrepiece of a new trail of 11 temporary public artworks and two permanent pieces stretching from the Botanic gardens to St Asaph Street, with features including a sheltered courtyard, café and stage for events. Art can also be seen in temporary spaces around the city, from the rooftop of C1 Expresso to the 10m suspended sculpture bridging the gap between Cathedral Square and the new Transitional Cathedral. Gap Filler projects The Gap Filler creative regeneration project started after the earthquake to temporarily activate vacant sites within Christchurch, with everything from pedal powered cinemas to Gap Golf. The innovations continue in 2014 with a number of new and returning projects: Transitional audio city tours revamped – Free 1 hour 40 minute audio tours around the transitional city have been revamped to offer visitors an insight into how the area is changing. Starting from the Pallet Pavilion, the self-guided tour provides a commentary of personal stories and historical and contemporary geographical and architectural information to a soundscape from local musicians. www.gapfiller.org.nz Sightseeing Cardboard Cathedral - The transitional ‘cardboard’ cathedral, designed by renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, opened its doors to the public in August 2013, forming a new attraction in the ‘city of churches’. Designed to last just 50 years, the cathedral is being used for regular concerts and events throughout 2014. www.cardboardcathedral.org.nz New Avon River Park – Work has begun on the creation of a new river park that will form a green ribbon through Christchurch. Set to feature cycle ways, riverside pedestrian walks and boardwalk areas alongside open theatre, recreation and restaurant areas, the project is also working to create a healthy river ecosystem. The first Watermark stage opened in late 2013 with work ongoing to complete the development. www.ccdu.govt.nz
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