The Opening of the Mercury Bay Art Escape 2017

  • 6 March 2017
  • Sarah Holden

Last Friday 3 March the official opening of the Mercury Bay Art Escape 2017 (MBAE) took place at Hot Waves Café (a central point in the Mercury Bay area). Many of the artists attended, along with visitors wanting to get a taste of the tour and check out the artists they wanted to visit whilst making their way around the self drive tour.

The atmosphere was buzzing when we got there as everyone was going around to view the art for the first time. It was also great to catch up with some of the artists who I haven’t seen for a while and talk about their new work and how they were feeling. Many of the artists have now become friends so it’s always nice to check in with them and see how they are getting on. I also had the pleasure of meeting the new administrator and curator for the Art Escape, Kathryn Tsui. She was lovely and it’ll be interesting to see how she can take things to the next level.

During the opening the artists had the opportunity to vote for their favourite and the winner of the Artist Choice Award was given to Airdrie Hamilton for her stunning depiction of roses, ‘Sally on a Good Day’.

"We had such a wet winter and the roses and hydrangeas responded with tremendous growth. It was easy to be inspired to spend the past year painting them”, said Airdrie. Congratulations, Airdrie, the way you’ve captured the light and detail is nothing short of remarkable!

The visitors, including myself, voted for their favourite, which will be counted towards the People’s Choice Award. This will be announced at the end of the Art Escape.

This year celebrated a decade since the first art escape took place and we listened to speeches from one of the founding artists, Betty Collings and key note speaker and patron of the Art Escape, Michael Smither.

Betty highlighted how far they have come since the first tour and applauded how it has grown and developed. Michael reflected on the artists, encouraging them to keep striving and evolving, and the importance that art has to play in sending messages to people viewing the art.

The MBAE Trustees were also rewarded with a rendition of ‘Your Simply The Best’ by the artists to thank them for all their hard work over the year to bring everything together and make it happen.

Next weekend is the second weekend of the art escape – be sure to pop into The Little Gallery to view a number of the artists who are part of the tour, including those whose studios are not open this year.  It’s a great place to start and get a feel for the fantastic quality of art we have available on the Coromandel.


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