We share the waterways that run beneath our feet: water is vital to our sense of common ground.

A free public art festival situated in the Hutt Valley, Wellington Saturday 25 February – Saturday 4 March 2017, Common Ground explores our relationship with water – the Hutt River Te Awakairangi, its streams, springs and the aquifer beneath – and its importance to our sense of place, health and wellbeing.

All the projects are about your participation and there is a packed programme of events happening day and night for the eight days. Check out the calendar of events, and the project information. The festival takes over as its Hub and extends from here out along the waterways of Hutt City.

The Hutt provides water to the entire Wellington region. At the same time globally we face significant issues in terms of climate change and water quality, water ecology and its ownership.

A new kind of public art festival, five artist projects have been commissioned across the Hutt touching off the issues and many key locations relating to water in the Hutt Valley. They are connected through a Common Ground Hub in the Lower Hutt CBD at Central City Arcade 49-51 Queens Arcade  (a three minute walk from the Dowse Art Museum), and a wide-ranging public programme of activities and other artist projects between the Dowse Art Museum and the riverbank. Get involved through fun activities, learn more and join in daytime and evening discussions and workshops.

The festival is produced by public art and urban revitalisation organisation Letting Space in partnership with Hutt City Council.

Happening for eight action-packed days of free events for all ages, come and participate. To download a festival map with calendar: 11067 CG Groundwater Poster B FINAL v3

The Background

Common Ground was began in 2015 by Hutt City Council, and in 2017 is being produced in partnership with public art organisation Letting Space. The name, Common Ground was chosen to reflect the inclusive nature of the art projects, suggesting projects that encourage participation and make links with local geography, history and communities.

Common Ground seeks to foster creative collaborations between artists, local communities, businesses and the public. We welcome your active participation. To keep in touch with news from the projects join our Facebook page here or contact us here.

The 2017 Team

Letting Space: Mark Amery, Sophie Jerram and Helen Kirlew Smith

Hutt City Council Project Leader: Pippa Sanderson, Community Arts and Cultural Advisor

Production Manager: Debbie Fish

Assistant Production Manager: Linda Lee

Publicity: Goldfish Creative

Designer: Beppo Wallace, Dink Design

Massey University Interns: Robert Laking and Emerita Paik

Volunteers: Christine Fagan, Johannes Mueller-Welschof, Anastasia Rosamund, Victoria Thompson, Mary Hutchinson, Tamasin Falconrt, Ruth Prentice, Trevor Kohring, Ulrike Fund and Maíra Müller.

Commercial Space Broker: About Space.

Funders: Hutt City Council, Creative New Zealand and Chartwell Trust

Common Ground Hub partners: Hutt City Libraries, Enviroschools, Wellington Access Radio and Wellington Water

Project Partners: Dowse Art Museum, GNS Science, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington Water and Kiwirail.

Commissioned projects: Stu Farrant, Murray Hewitt, Angela Kilford, Bruce McNaught, Bruce Mahalski, Johanna Mechen, Gabby O’Connor, Kedron Parker, Julian Priest, Paula Warren, and Aliyah Winter

Public programme projects: Birgit Bachler, Josephine Garcia Jowett, Andrea Selwood, Stringbean Puppets, Liana Stupples, Mix, Hutt on High, Wellington Water, Waiora Wainuiomata, Christine Fagan and Dionne Ward

Other partners: Te runanga o Te Atiawa, Resenes, Friends of the Waiwhetu Stream, Friends of the Hutt River, First Assembly, the community of Wainuiomata, Hutt Art Society, Whitebait Connection, Barbarian Productions, Sustainable Business Network, Boffa Miskell, the many artists, schools and groups participating in the creation of the commissioned projects, Wellington Independent Arts Trust and Hutt City Council’s Community Arts and Culture Advisory Group.

Participating Schools and youth groups: Hutt Valley High, Thumbs Up, Rata Street School, Hutt Central, Naenae Clubhouse, Taita Clubhouse, Avalon School, Te Ara Whanui, Waora and Wilford Schools

Photographers: Dionne Ward (all images on this site unless otherwise noted), Adam Dransfield, Johanna Mechen and Mick Finn